The law in relation to property settlements for people in de facto relationships changed on 1 March 2009 when the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Act 2008 became law. The effect of the Act is that people who were in a de facto relationship and separated after 1 March 2009 can now have their property and maintenance matters dealt with under the Family Law Act 1975 (“the Act”).
Once it has been established that parties are eligible to make an application for a de facto property settlement, the Court looks at essentially the same factors as it would if the parties had been married.
An application for property settlement or maintenance must be made within 2 years from the date of separation.
Even when parties have reached an agreement about how to divide their relationship assets, the paperwork formalising that agreement, must be lodged before the 2 year time limit expires.