Monday, August 29, 2011

De facto relationships - further examples

Further to last week’s post, the list below sets out some of the specific circumstances that are taken into account by the courts to determine whether a relationship does amount to a de facto relationship.

Circumstances of the relationship taken into consideration include any or all of the following:

(a) the duration of the relationship;
(b) the nature and extent of their common residence;
(c) whether a sexual relationship exists;
(d) the degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between them;
(e) the ownership, use and acquisition of their property;
(f) the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
(g) whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory as a prescribed kind of relationship;
(h) the care and support of children; and
(i) the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

A link to the above definition is as follows:

Until next week.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What is a de facto?

Following on from last week’s post, I thought it would be useful to also summarise the definition of 'de facto'.

This particular definition is taken from the Family Law Act (Section 4AA).

In summary, a person will be in a de facto relationship with another person, if:

(a) the persons are not legally married to each other; and

(b) the persons are not related by family (see subsection (6)); and

(c) having regard to all the circumstances of their relationship, they have a
relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

A link to the above definition is -

Until next week.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What is a spouse?

The issue that what kind of relationship satisfies the definition of a 'spouse' has been coming up increasingly regularly.

The Tax Act sets out one of the most used definitions in this regard and I thought it useful this week to extract that definition in its entirety, given that it has been amended relatively recently.

A "spouse" of an individual includes:

(a) another individual (whether of the same sex or a different sex) with whom the individual is in a relationship that is registered under a State law or Territory law prescribed for the purposes of section 22B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 as a kind of relationship prescribed for the purposes of that section; and

(b) another individual who, although not legally married to the individual, lives with the individual on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

Until next week.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Review of a trustee's decision

Last week we had to assist a trustee of a family trust in their attempt to resist a review of a decision by a disgruntled beneficiary.

Many will be aware of the High Court decision in Finch v Telstra Super Pty Ltd [2010] HCA 36 – a link to the case is as follows:

In very broad terms, we confirmed to the trustee the relatively settled position that seems to have evolved in this area, namely that the exercise of a discretion by a trustee is not subject to review by the court unless one of the following three factors is present:

1. The trustee does not act in good faith;

2. The trustee does not give real and genuine consideration to the exercise of the discretion and the purposes for which the discretion was granted; or

3. Reasons for the decision are provided by the trustee, but those reasons are unsound.

Until next week.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Prenups and the need for independent legal advice

An interesting issue came up recently in relation to a 'prenuptial agreement (more technically referred to as a 'binding financial agreement')'.

In particular, as many would know, the need for both parties to the relationship to obtain independent legal advice was brought into question because often one party will choose not to follow the advice that is provided. That is the lawyer may recommend that the agreement not be signed, however the client will still sign.

Based on recent cases, it seems clear that:

1. There is no need for independent advice to be actually accepted or followed to satisfy the requirement that independent advice is sought.

2. Even if advice provided by the independent lawyer is later shown to be incorrect, the criteria that independent advice be sought may still be satisfied.
Until next week.