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Thank you for your question. To Introduce myself I am a sydney based Solicitor and will do my best to provide you with relevant information to assist you.
How long have you and your boyfriend being together, and where you living together during this time?
From what I can see, there is at least a 3 year relationship which would make you a defacto couple but if the relationship was longer than this, then you would be entitled to a share of his business under the property splitting laws.
Admittedly he would be entitled to any of your assets as well but depending on what the business is worth you can determine whether you wish to proceed down this path.
No - we weren't living together for any part of the relationship (we both have our own homes and children from previous relationships) and I have no interest at all in pursuing things in that vein.
Basically I just want to be paid for the hours I worked in the business - and in fact given that I probably worked 1500 hours over 3 years, I would like something. He has since paid off his own home, bought 3 cars (2 of them $90000 each) gone on 2 international holidays and bought a factory- and hasn't so much as given me a petrol voucher for the driving back and forth to his factory I did.
What legal grounds would I have to start the proceedings in the Magistrates court? We didn't have a partnership agreement and there was obviously no 'employment agreement'. Would it end up being just my word against his? Do I have the grounds to be asked to be paid for ongoing work in a business without a contract??
We never specifically talked about me 'working for him' and him paying me - as right from the beginning we started this together. As 'we' had started it together, and 'we' were working on it every weekend and some weeknights (he worked the trade work during the day) I assumed 'we' would benefit from it: that when he got on his feet he would start paying me. He would ask me to help do such and such a job, or such and such a job - all of the work was at his request. Everyone in his family saw me working for him, and his mother even assumed I was being paid.
. After 2 years when I started talking about being paid and him giving me what I deserved from the previous 2 years work, he then started pushing me out of the business - he hired a bookkeeper, he got someone else to upkeep the website etc. We ended up breaking up over because I asked to get paid and he refused.
We were told (from the small business lecturer) that because we were doing it together there could be an assumption of a partnership - but I was happy for it to be his business although no agreement was made either way. He knew - because I told him - that I expected to get paid at some stage and he still asked me to do particular tasks: that is why I know he was aware I expected to be paid. He was paying everyone else who did things and not me. Is there anything in the legal system about being paid fairly for work done, without a contract. He was aware I didn't work 3 years and expect nothing for it.
I know that he was aware I expected payment of some sort because we did split up for a month after 2 years - he said in that month (when we weren't together): 'I was going to pay for us all to have a holiday together' and 'I was going to pay to have your kitchen renovated if you wanted it' but conveniently didn't do these things after we got back together even though I waited another year. Is that kind of thing helpful if it went to court - he knew a payment of some sort was owing but refused when it came down to it. He also said at one point: how much do you want? How much do you want to make you happy?? I roughly went over the hours I worked (1500 at $40 an hour and came to $60000) - I said half of that. He broke up with me a week later.
I don't want to claim more than wages - I just use that to show he knew he needed to pay me in some way. Is that valid? The claim for wages is what I want to look at.
There wasn't a particular work arrangement: we started a business together, we worked on it together at nights and the weekend (I went to his home office), he got all of the profits (which I didn't mind at the beginning when it was his only income and I taught) , when I asked for my share he started elbowing me out, making excuses and then finally refused, breaking up with me.
There wasn't anything agreed to when we started the business. Nothing. There were no discussions about payment. Where does that leave me? Will I have worked for 3 years on this business for nothing?
No, I said I assumed he would pay me when the business started making money as we were doing all of the work together, it was a business we started together. He didn't say he would, he didn't say he wouldn't. When it did start making money and I asked he would avoid, then started doing the things I mentioned - edge me out, 'say' he would pay for a holiday etc etc. In the end he broke up with me - because I was asking to be paid. How can that be fair?
But wouldn't the defacto part be a whole split of property thing? I was divorced 6 years ago - that's the last thing I want to do = and we never lived together - always had 2 houses. He made it perfectly clear he didn't want to live together - wouldn't that imply we weren't defacto?
Thanks for all of the information - if I do wished to pursue it as a Defacto, would that also be through the Magistrates court or would it then be through family court?
If I just went to magistrates court as originally intended, would I pursue it as a Trader/consumer relationship or just as a debt to be recovered?
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