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Busting some Family Law misconceptions

The emotional side of ending a relationship can leave those involved completely unprepared for financial separation – often not helped by some notions that float around (well-intentioned) back-yard barbeque and water-cooler conversations.

Property held by one person at separation is theirs
Under the Family Law Act 1975 all assets and liabilities go into the “asset pool” – they don’t have to be in joint names. This can include an interest in assets owned with another person and an interest in assets held by a Trust.

Superannuation is excluded
Superannuation is an asset – although this was not always the case which is possibly where this misconception comes from – and is available for division between the parties.

Inheritances are excluded
Parties can agree that an asset or cash received from an inheritance should be excluded from being divided between them and remain the property of the party who inherited. But if no agreement can be reached the inheritance amount will be included in the asset pool. However, how the asset came to be received by the party by way of inheritance will be relevant for how it is (if indeed it is) divided between the parties.

But we aren’t ‘de facto’ because we haven’t been together for more than two years
A committed relationship for two years is only one of the legal indicia for whether parties are in a de facto relationship. But others include the parties having a child together or making a financial commitment together (such as the purchase of property).

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