rights and responsibilities of de facto partners
As a parent and a partner in a de facto relationship a person holds many rights and responsibilities.
A partner has the right to ask for a partition of assets and thus apply for property settlement. A child of a de facto relationship is entitled to be supported and cared for by his parents who are his de facto partners. A partner may apply for spousal maintenance while the other partner may be ordered to provide it.
It is the financial support that is given by the more affluent partner to the other partner who applied for it and obviously is in more need of it. The amount of financial support a partner after the relationship may be determined by the court in case the parties do not have an agreement. Perhaps the most important factor to be considered is the capacity to pay by the partner. It would be pointless to institute an action if the other party does not have the financial resources to pay. Other considerations are the age and health of both partners, their ability to work, income, properties, financial resources, and the standard of living.
Spousal maintenance is not a matter of right. It is not automatically given to a partner unless the paying partner voluntarily gives it without need of an agreement or a court order.
The breakdown of a de facto relationship almost always results to the division of assets. Partners have a right to get a share of the assets of the relationship. In recognition of that right a partner may be brought to court if he refuses to negotiate peaceably with the other partner.
Partners who parted amicably may opt for the easy and fastest way of property settlement which is execution of an agreement. It will avoid the hassle and costs of going to court. More importantly, the partners control how their assets are going to be divided.
An agreement can be formalized with the court which can issue consent orders.
A partner may institute a court action for property settlement immediately after the separation and has until two years after the relationship ended to file such action. The rights of the partners to a share in the asset pool of the relationship will then be subjected to the court’s decision of a just and equitable settlement.
The parental responsibility of de facto partners to their children remains even after their separation. A partner has the duty to care for his children unless there are safety or danger issues. The partners may agree on their own about the child care arrangements or they may apply for court intervention if they can’t reach an agreement. Either way, children of de facto partners have the right to be cared for and financially supported by their parents.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.