[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]In January 2016, a Federal Circuit Court Judge decided that it was not just and equitable to make a property order in a case involving a de-facto couple who separated after a 27 year relationship.
The case followed a decision of the High Court in 2012 (Stanford) which said that a court must first decide whether it is just and equitable to make an order to divide property of separating couples.
The January 2016 case involved a same sex de-facto couple who had been in a 27 year relationship commencing in 1983. The parties separated in December 2010 and had no children. At the time of the trial the Applicant’s assets totalled $720,391.00 and the Respondent’s assets totalled $1,698,664.00.
The Applicant claimed that it was a long de-facto relationship during which both parties contributed to the property pool and that it was just and equitable for the court to consider a property division. The Respondent argued that although the parties were in a long de-facto relationship they had kept their finances separate and it was not just and equitable for the court to consider a property division.
The Court agreed with the Respondent. Among the reasons given for accepting the Respondent’s case, the Judge said the following:
- There was no intermingling of their respective finances;
- The parties did not have a joint bank account;
- Each party acquired property in their own name with there being little exchange of the detail of these acquisitions to the other party;
- Each party remained responsible for their own debt;
- Each party was able to use the remainder of their wages as they chose without explanation or accountability to the other party;
- There was a complete lack of joint financial decision making;
- There was an absence of sharing information with each other as to their financial situation or individual decision making;
- Neither party made provision for the other party in the event of their death either by way of will, beneficiary to superannuation funds or beneficiary to life insurance policies;
- The parties at the time of separation were unaware as to the worth of the assets acquired by each of the parties during the relationship and the decisions that had been made in respect to the acquisitions of these assets.