Relationship Property Law

Introduction

Relationship Property law deals with the division of assets between a couple (including those living in de facto and same sex relationships).

This area of law is governed by a code set out in the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. The Act determines how the property of married couples and couples who have lived in a de facto relationship is to be divided when they separate.

The Family Proceedings Act 1980 is also relevant.  It empowers the courts to make orders in respect of family trusts where separation has had a major impact on any settlement/s made to trusts during a relationship (this only applies to married couples with children). 

If assets have been placed in trust, an application can be brought in the High Court in relation to those assets. It may also be possible to argue that a ‘constructive trust’ exists granting a remedy against trust assets that a party might otherwise not have been entitled to.

As everybody’s circumstances are unique, each person should obtain legal advice to understand how general principles apply to them.

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