Alteration of property interests

Long relationship does not necessarily mean alteration of property interests 

A recent decision of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia is unusual and may be of interest to you. 

The basic facts were:
  1. two parties were in a same sex de facto relationship for close to twenty-seven years;
  2. the parties never intermingled their finances and acquired properties in their own names;
  3. the parties were unaware of each other’s financial situation;
  4. there were never any joint bank accounts or credit cards;
  5. there were no mutual Wills.
The Court held that it was not just and it was not equitable for an alteration of property interests to be considered between the parties. 

This is a clear case of the application of the principles set out in the High Court case, Stanford v Stanford (2012) 293 ALR 70.  The question articulated by the High Court was:

“Is it just and equitable to make a property settlement order by identifying, according to ordinary common law and equitable principles, the existing legal and equitable interests of the parties in the property.”
 
To read the case in full, click here http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCCA/2016/53.html 
Victoria Treloar
5 December 2016