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SA De Facto Separation - Too Late for Property Settlement?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by chanel#9, 20 February 2015.

  1. chanel#9

    chanel#9 Member

    20 February 2015
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    Hello there. I wondered if anyone can advise me as to where I stand in a de facto separation

    I had been in a relationship for a total of approx 5 years. When I met the man in question he had just moved into the premises. I was going to share 5 years with him in there. He had the house a total of two weeks then I moved in. Mortgaged of course but we both worked full time for a period of 2 and a half years until I became pregnant and engaged to him in which I continued to work until I was 6 months pregnant.

    I was a stay at home mum for our daughter in which I cared for the home and baby while he worked and was on and off work in that time. I took up some studies to further my skills in my line of work.

    After we had our baby, things got bad from there. He was behaving different the arguments were more and more and the physical arguments were going to far and i was frightened . It came to a point where I felt for the best interest of my daughter and myself it was best we moved out.

    He did not take this to well then it went bad to worse. Stalking and following me for 2 months in a car he purchased without my knowledge not long after I left and followed my movements...letting my tyeares down, harassing friends, family, etc., then breaking into my home stealing my sheets underwear (gross i know) and trying to what he thought in his head another man which was never the case.

    He got physical and the verbal abuse was huge. He was taking drugs, rang me over ten times explaining he had cut himself or hanging a noose round his neck and it'll be my fault if I didn't try help which I did every time not because I loved him anymore but for my daughter whom mind u never saw violence. She was my number one and first and foremost.

    He was on drugs this continued for a good 2 years and it was exhausting he went so far he actually had some time in jail for his behaviour and what he was doing. I left the home with my clothes my daughters clothes and a small tv and nothing else he wouldn't allow it but was my last priority. I do not have enough time to tell you the list of dangerous things he subjected me to.

    It's been 3 years now and although he's better, he still every now and then gets a bee in his bonnet but moves on. To date, he hasn't had another woman. I have been in and out of my mum's and rentals. I'm only just making ends meet (if that). Without mum's help I'd be stuffed. My daughter started school 3 weeks ago so I'll be looking for work.

    Sorry for the long story but want you to get an idea of why I did not pursue him in family court as I feared for my safety and what he would be like. he was on and drugs on and off but sometimes has a relapse. I am now finally feeling strong although nervous but ready to start my life stronger and I feel I am entitled to something from our home we shared.

    Also in that time received a payout of approx $60,000 which was used for house renovations and the birth of our daughter engagement and a car suitable for the baby to arrive. He believes I'm not entitled to a cent as he had it two weeks before I moved in and his parents paid the deposit. I have heard that you have two years to take it to court but it's been three and the reason for this was a safety issue plus mentally I was not strong enough. hiding from him at 2 or 3 or 4am under the bed was enough worry.

    Do you think I'm entitled to half or what do you think is fair with the property and superannuation and is there an application for special circumstances such as mine to get permission from the courts to file (property settlement)? Will I get Legal Aid being a single mum unemployed?

    Am I doing the right thing? My tummy has butterflies, but I need to be ok for my daughter too - I've suffered enough. Any info and steps to take would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much. Also can anyone recommend Legal Aid lawyer in Adelaide
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    There is a two-year time limit following the breakdown of a de facto relationship to apply for a property settlement, but you may be able to get special leave of the court to apply for one later if you're experiencing extreme financial hardship as a result of having not reached a property settlement prior.

    It's impossible to predict what you would get from a property settlement if it were to be allowed by the court because they're decided case-by-case. It's basically a four-step process.

    1. What's the value of the shared asset pool?
    2. What was the financial and non-financial contribution of each?
    3. What is the future earning outlook for each?
    4. Is the settlement fair and equitable?

    For de facto relationships of reasonably short length, as in your case, it's usually expected that each party will mostly retain the assets they had before the relationship.

    I'm a bit confused about what you mean when you say he "got" the house two weeks before you moved in. Do you mean the purchase settled two weeks before you moved in? Did you meet him two weeks after he moved into it? Were you in a relationship while he was making the purchase? All of these might lead to different outcomes in the settlement.

    As I said earlier, property division is not predictable - there's no set formula. You can only ask for what you want and either reach an agreement with the other party or the court will decide for you.

    I believe you stand a good chance of getting Legal Aid, provided they advise you to pursue a settlement given the time frame. You have special circumstances, so I would organise a consultation with a Legal Aid solicitor as soon as possible to get legal advice.

    I suppose at a personal level, you also need to ask yourself if it's worth jabbing what seems to be a dangerous hornet's nest with a stick. There are other options for attaining funds and help without endangering your safety.
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  3. Sophea

    Sophea Guest

    Hi Chanel#9,

    Further to Allforher's remarks,
    My questions are: Whose name is the house in? Both of your names? or just his? And whose name is on the mortgage?

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