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How to Terminate a De Facto Relationship Legally?

how to cancel a de facto relationship | Justice Family Lawyers

The process to legally end a de facto relationship in Australia primarily entails resolving issues such as property division, financial settlements, and child custody. Unlike marriage, there is no need for a formal “divorce” process. 

When a de facto relationship concludes, either party can apply to the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court for financial orders within two years from the date of separation. If this deadline is missed, permission from the court is required to file ‘out of time’.

The process begins by establishing the existence of the de facto relationship. This includes evaluating factors such as the relationship’s duration, living arrangements, financial interdependence, property ownership, and child care responsibilities.

Once the relationship is established as de facto, parties typically negotiate an agreement regarding property and financial asset division This can be formalised through a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) or court-approved consent orders.

If agreement cannot be reached, parties may need to apply for court orders. the court will make decisions based on factors similar to those considered in the dissolution of a marriage.

It’s advisable to seek legal advice to effectively navigate these processes and ensure that all legal rights and obligations are properly addressed.

What legal documents are required to cancel a de facto relationship?

When ending a de facto relationship legally in Australia, various documents may be required, particularly if the separation involves financial settlements or child-related matters. These include:

  1. Separation Agreement: While not legally required to end the relationship, it is beneficial to draft a de facto separation agreement that outlines how both parties agree to divide property, assets, and handle parenting arrangements, if applicable.
  2. Binding Financial Agreement (BFA): This can be entered into before, during, or after a de facto relationship. It details how financial matters, including property and spousal maintenance, should be handled. For a BFA to be legally binding, both parties must receive independent legal advice.
  3. Consent Orders: If parties agree on how to divide property and financial assets or on parenting arrangements, they can apply to the court for consent orders. These orders, once approved by the court, become legally binding and enforceable. Consent order applications require detailed information about financial positions, the terms of the agreement, and relevant parenting plans if children are involved.
  4. Court Application for Parenting and/or Financial Orders: If parties cannot agree, either party can apply to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court for orders pertaining to parenting and/or financial matters. This involves filling out several forms, including an initiating application, and providing supporting documents such as financial statements and parenting affidavits, depending on the nature of the dispute.
  5. Statutory Declarations or Affidavits: These may be needed to attest to the facts of the relationship’s existence, its breakdown, and the arrangements proposed or agreed upon for children and financial matters.
  6. Proof of Separation: Documents such as a lease, utility bills, or a statutory declaration may be required to prove that the de facto relationship has ended and that the parties have separated.

Legal advice is highly recommended to ensure all documents are prepared correctly and that both parties’ rights and obligations are adequately addressed.

Also read: From Cohabitation to Courtroom: De Facto Relationship Rights Australia

What should you consider before ending a de facto relationship?

Before ending a de facto relationship, several important factors must be considered to ensure both parties manage the transition smoothly and fairly. These considerations include:

  1. Financial Arrangements: Assess your financial interdependencies, including joint bank accounts, debts, and shared expenses. Understanding the financial impact of separation is crucial, especially regarding entitlements and obligations for shared assets and debts.
  2. Property Division: Consider how property, including real estate, vehicles, and other significant assets acquired during the relationship, will be divided.
  3. Children: Prioritise the welfare of any children involved, considering custody arrangements, parenting responsibilities, and child support. It’s important to plan how you will co-parent and support the children to minimise the impact of the separation on their well-being.
  4. Legal and Binding Agreements: Determine whether a Binding Financial Agreement or consent orders are necessary to formalise the division of property and financial arrangements. These agreements can prevent future legal disputes.
  5. Living Arrangements: Plan immediate living arrangements, including decisions about who will stay in the current home or move out.
  6. Emotional Support: Ending a relationship can be emotionally challenging. Consider seeking support from friends, family, or professionals to help manage the emotional aspects of the separation.
  7. Legal Advice: Obtain legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities. A lawyer specialising in family law can provide guidance tailored to your situation, help you understand the legal process, and ensure that your interests are protected.
  8. Future Planning: Think about your long-term goals and needs post-separation, including your living situation, career plans, and personal growth. This will help you transition to a new phase of life with clarity and purpose.

Considering these aspects carefully can help ensure a fair and smooth resolution, allowing both parties to move forward with their lives.

Also read: Interdependent Partner vs De Facto: 3 Key Points You Need to Know

Ending a de facto relationship in Australia? We’ll guide you.

Navigating the legal aspects of a de facto separation can be complicated. Ensure your rights are protected and you obtain the support you need during this transition.

Our team at Justice Family Lawyers specialise in de facto relationship law. Our experienced solicitors can provide personalised guidance, helping you understand your options and achieve a fair outcome.

Schedule a consultation today and start building a secure future.

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