Changes to Australia’s Family Law Act simplify property settlement arrangements for de facto couples, according to leading Australian family law experts, Parke Lawyers.

The revisions remove much of the complexity that previously surrounded property settlements for de facto couples, creating more of a level playing field, says Parke Lawyers Managing Director, Jim Parke.

“Until the Civil Law and Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2018 was passed, de facto couples were disadvantaged compared to married couples with regard to making an application for an order in relation to a property settlement after the end of a relationship.

“De facto couples previously had a two-year time limit to begin proceedings compared to the 12 month period required of married couples after divorce became final.”

Mr Parke described the changes as long overdue and a major step in providing de facto couples the same rights as married couples in relationship breakdowns.

He said it had always been the case that married or de facto couples could consent to the court making orders out of time but previously married couples could do this using an Application for Consent Orders.

For married couples this process required both parties to file forms with the Family Court, however, even if both consented to the court making an order out of time, de facto couples had to make a formal application and appear in court before a judge to obtain leave to apply for orders.

Mr Parke says the amended act will provide considerable cost savings for de facto couples who have been unable to finalise a property settlement within the two-year limit but who need to have a property settlement in order to finalise matters.

“They can now also use the Application for Consent Orders process, which as well as lower costs, will also mean less red tape.”

He says the changes provide the added benefit to de facto couples who split, of no longer having the stress of needing to face family courts.

“These amendments will enable de facto couples to formalise the end of their relationship with court orders without having to be exposed to the stress and expense of attending the family court”, he added.

Parke Lawyers has a team of family separation and divorce lawyers who are highly qualified in their field and experienced with all aspects of family law. This was recognised in the 2018 APAC Legal Awards when Parke Lawyers was awarded Best Family Law Firm – Australia.

Family law is increasingly complex, so it is important for clients to know their lawyer is up-to-date with the latest changes and knows how to get results.