In a recent Full Court of the Family Court decision of Cosola and Moretto  FedCFamCA 61, the application by the de facto wife was dismissed and the decision of the original Judge who was Justice Schonell from Division 1 of the Family Court in Sydney was upheld.
In this particular matter, which highlights the importance of obtaining specialist family law advice before embarking on any application for property settlement, the parties had each been married previously and entered into a de facto relationship which lasted for well in excess of 10 years. Relevantly, each party had their own assets at the time they commenced their relationship and indeed retained a property each both during the relationship and after separation. The de facto wife had applied seeking property adjustment as at the time of separation, the de facto husband had a property worth a greater value than her original property and she was seeking an adjustment for property settlement. There were a number of different factors that the Judge at first instance looked at and indeed the Full Court of the Family Court upheld but one very relevant situation was that the parties kept very separate finances and it was clear throughout the duration of their de facto relationship that they each dealt with their own property as they saw fit. This was one of the overriding reasons which led the original decision maker to dismiss the application by the de facto wife in her seeking an additional payment from the de facto husband.
Family Law can be a very complex area to navigate both in de facto relationship matters as well as matters involving couples that were married. In situations where each party has come into the relationship with assets and/or have already been married and divorced and enter into a fresh blended family situation, this can in some cases add an extra layer of complexity to what is already a very complex area of law.
This highlights the need to always ensure that you seek advice off an accredited specialist in family law. An accredited specialist is somebody in NSW that has undertaken extra training in this specific area of law and has been acknowledged by the NSW Law Society as a leader or specialist in that particular area. At this point in time, there are limited accredited specialists out of the in excess of 40,000 lawyers in NSW and it is a very highly complex and specialised area of law. In the Western Suburbs of Sydney Rafton Family Lawyers have one of the highest ratio of accredited specialists available that can provide expert advice and assistance in the area of family law which will prevent spending unnecessary legal fees or bringing court applications that potentially that may be dismissed including paying costs for the other party.
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The full details of the case can be downloaded at www.austlii.com.au