How do I know if I’m in a de facto relationship?

Being in a de facto relationship can have various legal and financial implications, and is therefore an important thing to consider.

The broad meaning of the term, as outlined in the Property (Relationships) Act, is two adults living together as a couple. Whether or not you are living together as a couple will depend on many factors including the duration of the relationship, financial dependence, degree of commitment, care and support of children etc. While none of these elements are necessarily compulsory for a de facto relationship, they are all relevant considerations in determining whether the parties are fulfilling the requirement of living together as a couple.

If you would like further advice regarding the legal status of your relationship, and the implications that come with it, then please make an appointment with Scott Donaldson or Malcolm McKenzie.

Will my trust protect me from relationship property claims?

No. It is very dangerous to assume that assets held on trust are automatically protected from relationship property claims.

There are many situations in which an ex-partner may succeed in a relationship property claim against your trust assets. Most examples of this include some form of contribution or improvement to the assets made by the partner.

The best way to guarantee that your assets are protected from a relationship property claim is by entering into a property agreement. This provides certainty over which assets each party can claim upon any future relationship break-up.

If you would like further advice regarding relationship property, please make an appointment with Scott Donaldson or Malcolm McKenzie.