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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5420
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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I was until recently living with my partner past 3 years..

Customer Question

Hi.. i was until recently living with my partner for the past 3 years.. for the last 8 months of that i wad paying bills.. never did i pay the mortgage though.. what am i entitled too
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

If you were living as a defacto couple for two years then you are entitled to apply for property orders under the Family Law Act essentially as if you were a married couple.

Under the family law act, when defacto couple of two or more years duration separate the court can make orders adjusting their respective property as it thinks fair having regard to the contributions of the parties to the relationship.

In practice, for a short relationship such as yours a substantial adjustment would be unusual unless you can show that your respective contributions both initially and throughout the relationship are sufficiently uneven and do not reflect your actual legal ownership of the marital asset pool, and usually this would only occur if the parties had mingled their assets and income in some significant way.

So if you both continued to keep your own accounts and earn money which you kept separate save for both contributing to household expenses, a court is likely to find that there is no need for orders to redistribute assets. On the other hand, if you had bought a place together such that the parties were listed as owning equal shares in the property even though the funds were actually paid for by you, then the court would likely intervene to allow you to recover most of your equity on the basis that you had really contributed the whole of the property.

Only a lawyer fully briefed in your relationship history and the contributions each of you have made can give you firm advice but I trust the above assists your understanding as to the approach the court takes to such disputes.