DE-FACTO PARTNER RECEIVES NOTHING FROM HER PARTNER AT THE END OF 27 YEAR RELATIONSHIP!!
- February 10, 2017
- 1 Comment
Australian Family Law is an evolving area of law. A recent decision from December, 2016 of the Full Bench of the Family Court of Australia highlights how much the law has changed even in the last few years.
The parties were together for 27 years. One was frugal and careful with money. The other was more of a spendthrift. At the end of the relationship one partner was worth more than double what her partner was worth. Their relationship had some less common characteristics:
1. There was no intermingling of their finances throughout the relationship;
2. Both partners were in paid employment for the duration of the relationship;
3. There was no joint bank account;
4. If they went out for dinner or went away, they paid half each;
5. Each party acquired property including real estate in their own names;
6. Each party was responsible for their own debts;
7. There was a lack of joint financial planning and financial decision making;
8. Neither party left anything to the other in their Wills or their superannuation death benefits nominations;
9. At the end of the relationship, neither party knew how much the other party was worth;
10. One party paid to the other $50.00 per week as “board”;
11. There were no children;
12. The partners were a same sex couple.
The lower Court decision and the appeal decision gave the poorer partner no property adjustment.
This was despite there being evidence that the poorer party had assisted with renovations to the wealthier partner’s property (for no wages or reward) and also that she had been a good partner in providing non financial contributions to her partner.
Lessons from the Judgment
Does this mean that if I move in with my partner and we keep our finances completely separate, they will get nothing from me at the end?
Answer: Each case turns on its own facts and applying the law to those facts. However, you can comfortably advise people that if they consciously elect to maintain completely separate financial lives then there is less likelihood of there being an adjustment of property interests (including superannuation) at the end of the relationship or marriage.
If you have any questions about this or any of our other areas of law, please contact us on 9585 6455. We will be pleased to assist you to plan for you and your partner’s future.
Stephen Lucas is the Principal Solicitor Kingston Lawyers. He is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria Family Law Property Committee.