One of the common questions that people ask family lawyers is 'can my girlfriend take half my house in Australia?' This is an important question that falls under the topic of de facto separation rights and entitlements. People often wonder "can my girlfriend take half the family home?"
It is important to note that after a separation, your de facto partner is not automatically entitled to half your house. In fact, there are multiple factors to consider to determine who gets what after a de facto separation or divorce.
Therefore, the answer to the question 'can my girlfriend take half my house in Australia?' depends on factors such as the contributions that she has made in the relationship in the past. But most importantly, as a first step, you must determine and establish that you and your former partner were in a de facto relationship.
Moreover, whether your former girlfriend can take half your house also depends on factors such as who purchased the house. So, if we both purchased the house together, can my girlfriend take half my house in Australia? Let's explore this question in detail below.
Can My Girlfriend Take Half My House in Australia? Factors to Consider
According to the leading family law legislation in Australia, the Family Law Act (1975), there are a couple of things that courts consider when making a property settlement order. Basically, courts have to consider the contributions of each party.
Contributions can either be financial or non-financial. Financial support are in the form of monetary contributions that parties make to a relationship. For example, income and wages, superannuation, investment interests, and other financial resources fall under financial contributions.
On the other hand, significant non-financial contributions include if one party decided to forgo their career or education in order to look after the children in the relationship. Therefore, when deciding property settlement, courts take into consideration both these types of contributions.
Establishing De Facto Relationship
As mentioned above, the first step before you can commence property settlement proceedings is to establish whether a de facto relationship between you and your partner existed.
To do so, the court looks at various criteria including:
- duration of the relationship
- degree of financial dependence or interdependence
- whether there was a sexual relationship between the two parties
- care of children
- whether the parties registered the relationship in a state or territory
Largely, a de facto relationship involves two people living with each other on a genuine domestic basis. Once you have established that you were indeed in a de facto arrangement, you can consider options to finalise division of assets.
Why is it important to first establish whether or not a de facto relationship existed? This is because, there is no question of property settlement if you are unable to demonstrate that you and your former partner were in a de facto relationship. Parties cannot make a claim to each other's property if they were never in a de facto.
Once you have established that such a relationship existed, you have to assess contributions made by each party. Additionally, there are two methods to go about division of property. If two parties agree on matters, they can make mutual arrangements for division of property.
If they do not agree, they have to make an application for the family court to make binding property settlement orders.
Can My Girlfriend Take Half My House in Australia: Example Scenarios
You may have realised now that there is no straightforward answer to the question 'can my girlfriend take half my house Australia.' Rather, it depends on a number of factors, and so for each individual circumstance, the outcome may vary. In this section, we explore an example scenario to understand one type of outcome.
Example 1: Gina & Ryle
Let's consider an example where Gina and Ryle have recently separated from each other. They had registered their de facto relationship in the NSW website.
Ryle had a house before he entered into the relationship with Gina. The two of them eventually moved into Ryle's house and lived there together for 2 years. During the time that they lived together, Ryle makes additional mortgage payments.
Gina also contributes to mortgage payments, but her payments are slightly lesser than Ryle's. At the time of separation, depending on the monetary contributions that Gina has made, she can be entitled to receive that much percentage of the property.
For example, if Gina made 40% of mortgage payments when Ryle and Gina lived together, she can receive at leat 40% of the value of the property at the time of separation.
Moreover, courts can also consider some other financial and non-financial contribution that Gina made. Therefore, depending on these kinds of factors, the answer to the question 'can my girlfriend take half my house in Australia' differs. However, an automatic 50/50 split rarely ever occurs in Australian family law matters.
Seek Legal Advice From Family Lawyers
If you have more questions similar to 'can my girlfriend take half my house in Australia' you should consider speaking with family lawyers. At JB Solicitors, our leading team of solicitors can provide market-leading advice for all legal matters.
Moreover, if you and your former partner or spouse are able to reach mutual agreements, our family lawyers can assist with making arrangements and applying for consent orders to formalise these arrangements.
We can also help parties draft a binding financial agreement or BFAs that outline how assets should be divided between two parties in the event of a divorce or separation. Wherever required, we offer legal representation in family courts to ensure that our clients get the best possible outcome.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.