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Rights under Part 9 of the Property Law Act 1958 – De Facto and Same Sex Couples

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Rights under Part 9 of the Property Law Act 1958 – De Facto and Same Sex Couples

The Statute Law Amendment (Relationships) Act 2001 amended various Acts to recognise the rights and responsibilities of partners in domestic relationships irrespective of gender.

In particular, major changes were made to Part 9 of the Property Law Act (Vic) 1958 (“PLA”), which recognised the property rights and relationship between same sex couples. Property rights is defined to include real and personal property and any estate or interest in real or personal property and money, and any debt, and any cause of action for damages (including damages for personal injury), and any other thing in action, and any right with respect to property.

The Court must be satisfied that a person making an application under Part 9 of the PLA is a domestic partner within the meaning of the Act. A domestic partner is defined as a person: “…with whom the person is or has been in a domestic relationship”. Domestic relationship means “the relationship between two people who, although not married to each other, are living or have lived together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis (irrespective of gender)”

In determining whether a domestic relationship exists or has existed, all the circumstances of the relationship are to be taken into account, including any one or more of the following matters as may be relevant in a particular case-

(a) the duration of the relationship;

(b) the nature and extent of common residence;

(c) whether or not a sexual relationship exists;

(d) the degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between the parties;

(e) the ownership, use and acquisition of property;

(f) the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;

(g) the care and support of children;

(h) the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

Under s. 278 of the PLA, the Court may declare the title or rights that a domestic partner has in respect of property and may give orders to give effect to that declaration. Those orders may include as order as to possession.

Subject to some preconditions, pursuant to s. 279 of the PLA, a domestic partner may apply to the Court for an order for an adjustment of interest with respect to property of both or either of the domestic partners.

We would be happy to provide advice to you in relation to the above issues and other related property matters.

For further information, contact Renishka Naidoo-Weisse of Oldham Naidoo Lawyers via email or by calling (03) 9640 0002.

DISCLAIMER: This information is of a general nature only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. It is recommended that these matters be discussed with a Lawyer.