Property Problems: Deal at start of relationship is best protection

Saturday 24 July 2004

Q. I own my own business and have assets worth around $5 million, which include commercial investment properties. I have been divorced for some time and my children spend around three nights each week with me. My de facto partner and her young daughter moved into my home with me about 18 months ago. It is not owned by a trust and I have heard that a trust will protect it if my relationship

By The Landlord

should end.

I'm worried that if my new relationship suddenly ends my property will not be protected. How will this new relationship law affect me?

A. The act you refer to is the Property (Relationships) Act which applies almost identically to all couples in a relationship regardless of marriage and applies to your de facto relationship.

The act's most significant impact on de facto couples is on relationships that have lasted for three years or more. Couples in a short-term relationship can still qualify as long-term partners where there is a child of the relationship or one partner has substantially contributed to the relationship.

If you and your partner separate, either of you can apply to the court for division of your property.

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