Am I entitled to a property settlement? – By Briony Robertson
One of the common misconceptions in family law is that you need to have been in a de facto relationship for more than two years in order to have a property settlement. What people don’t realise, however, is that the Court also has the power to make Orders for a property settlement if there is a child of the relationship or if one party has made significant contributions (directly or indirectly) to the asset pool and failing to make Orders would result in a serious injustice to that party.
The recent decision in Volpe & Stark  FCCA 692 has reinforced the Court’s position in relation to property settlements of relationships of less than two years. In that case, the parties had been in a de facto relationship for only 13 months. The parties had, however, purchased a property together which was held by them as tenants in common in equal shares, notwithstanding the fact that Ms Vople had provided the majority of the funds required to enable the property to be purchased.
After hearing evidence as to Ms Vople’s contributions towards the property, the Court found that a failure to make an order would result in a serious injustice to Ms Vople, given her substantial contributions to the property and the fact that the property was held as tenants in common in equal shares and would continue to be held that way should Orders not be made.
If you have recently separated and are unsure as to whether or not you are entitled to a property settlement, make an appointment to meet with one of our family law team today to investigate your options.