Some people think that if they live with someone for two years there is a presumption that all assets will be split 50/50, which is incorrect.
You firstly must establish the existence of a de-facto relationship.
A de-facto relationship in Western Australia is defined as a “marriage like relationship” as set out in s13A of the Interpretation Act 1984 (WA).
In determining whether a de-facto relationship exists the Family Court may consider any of the following factors:
- the length of the relationship;
- whether the parties lived in the same home;
- the nature and extent of the parties’ common existence;
- whether a sexual relationship exists or existed;
- the level of financial dependence or interdependence;
- the ownership, use and purchase of property;
- the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
- whether the parties care for and support children; and
- the reputation and perception of the relationship by others.
In order to have property settlement rights against your de-facto partner in the event of separation, and/or to bring the application in the Family Court of Western Australia under section 205Z of the Family Court Act 1997 (WA), you must be able to satisfy the Court that:
- there has been a de-facto relationship for at least two years; or
- there is a child of the relationship who is under 18 years and failure to make the order would result in serious injustice to the primary parent; or
- the partner who applies for the order made substantial contributions (to the de-facto relationship) and failure to make the order would result in serious injustice.
In addition to the above:
- at least one de-facto partner must reside in Western Australia on the day the application is filed; and
- both parties must have resided in Western Australia for at least one third of the de-facto relationship; or
- you must have made substantial contributions in Western Australia; and
- you must bring your property settlement application within two years from the date of separation. There are some circumstances when it may be possible to apply to the Family Court for leave to commence proceedings out of time, however you should obtain legal advice from a Family Lawyer in the event you think this is applicable to you.