In this edition of ‘It depends’, special counsel Craig Turvey talks about whether marriage matters in family law financial cases.
Welcome to this edition of It depends. Today I’d like to talk about whether marriage matters in family law financial cases.
Family law property settlement or maintenance applications
Under the Family Law Act, you can make a property settlement or maintenance claim against someone if you’ve either been married to them or you can satisfy the court that you’ve been in a de facto relationship. Now, if you don’t fall within either of those two categories and you’ve been in a relationship with someone and you’re seeking financial recourse against them, you might not have any alternatives. So, it’s really important that you try and figure out and get advice as to whether you fit within either category or whether there’s perhaps nothing that can be done for you legally.
Does marriage matter?
It depends. If you’re married, it’s really easy to prove. You’ve got a marriage certificate. You can just attach that to your application. You don’t have any other evidentiary issues. And under the Family Law Act, it doesn’t have to be a marriage in Australia. It could be marriage in any other country. De facto cases are quite different however. Most people don’t register de facto relationships. So, what that means is that there’s not one magical piece of paper that you can wave around that will say, I have been in a de facto relationship with this person. It means that you might have some problems in terms of making a claim. There’s lots of people who think under the Family Law Act they’re in a de facto relationship when they probably aren’t or vice versa. The Family