Claire Aumuller: Hi, my name is Claire Aumuller. I’m a family lawyer here at Turnbull Hill Lawyers.
Today, I will be speaking with you about changes to the Family Law Act regarding the institution of de facto property proceedings. A de facto relationship exists where parties have been living together on a genuine domestic basis and they have either been living together for a period of two years or more, or there is a child of the relationship, or where it would otherwise be unjust for the court not to recognise the non-financial and financial contributions of the de facto spouse.
Historically, parties to a de facto relationship who’ve been unable to commence property proceedings in either the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court of Australia when it’s been more than two years since the date of separation, with some exceptions. If two years had passed since the date of separation, the applicant was required to, firstly, go before the court to satisfy the judge that their matters should proceed on the basis that it would otherwise be unjust for their matter not to be heard.
Recently though, the Family Law Act has been amended to allow for parties to a de facto relationship to commence property proceedings where there is consent to do so. What this amendment does is make it easier and cheaper for parties to a de facto relationship to commence property proceedings where there is the consent to do so and all parties are agreeable without an additional step of, firstly, going before the judge to convince the court that their matter should be heard. Thank you.