Personally I would rather watch paint dry than hear another news story about Barnaby Joyce’s personal life or the personal lives of those around him however, regardless of your views on the Barnaby Joyce saga, the factual scenario presents an interesting situation in the context of family law proceedings.
Let’s assume that Barnaby’s pregnant partner, Ms Campion, was overwhelmed by the media scrutiny and decided that enough was enough and terminated the relationship. Where would that leave Barnaby, his wife and his pregnant partner (for the purposes of the exercise we’ll assume that the child she is bearing is his, sigh)?
Under the provisions of the Family Law Act it is possible for proceedings to be brought by both his Wife and his partner for property settlement at the same time. S4AA(5)(b) of the Act specifically provides that
for the purposes of the Act a de facto relationship can exist even if one of the persons is legally married to someone else or in another de facto relationship
Barnaby’s Wife would be entitled to commence proceedings for property adjustment orders pursuant to S79 of the Family Law Act and Ms Campion could commence proceedings for property adjustment orders under the de facto provisions at S90SM of the Act.
People often ask, how can you be in a de facto relationship if you don’t live with the person? The simple answer is that a shared residence is not determinative of a de facto relationship. The Court looks at all the circumstances of the relationship including how long it lasted, whether the parties shared a common residence, whether there is a sexual relationship, whether it is exclusive, the degree of financial interdependence, the mutual commitment to a shared life, the care and support of children and the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.
Assuming the geographical requirements are met the Court can then make an order adjusting the property of the de facto parties S90SB of the Act where:-
- The de facto relationship totals at least 2 years; OR
- There is a child of the de facto relationship; OR
- A party has made substantial contributions and a failure to make an order would result in serious injustice.
Even if Ms Campion’s relationship with Barnaby does not meet the 2 year threshold she would still be able to make an application, regardless of the length of their relationship, if there is a child of that relationship.Barnaby Joyce, De Facto Property, De Facto Relationship, Family Law, property proceedings
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