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New laws support separating de facto couples in WA

De facto couples in Western Australia who separate have now been granted the same right as couples throughout Australia.

user iconJess Feyder 30 September 2022 Big Law
New laws support separating de facto couples in WA
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The Commonwealth and West Australian governments have announced the commencement of laws that allow separating de facto couples in Western Australia to split their superannuation as part of a family law property settlement.

Due to the unique nature of the Family Court of Western Australia, de facto couples in Western Australia did not have the same rights as those in other states.

De facto couples may have made significant contributions to each other’s superannuation over the course of their relationship, which is important to reflect in just and equitable property settlements.

 
 

This inequity had especially affected separating couples with low-value property pools, where superannuation may be the only significant asset to divide. 

It also disproportionately affected women who, on average, accumulate less superannuation.

The reforms also now allow the Family Court of Western Australia to hear bankruptcy proceedings concurrently with family law property proceedings. 

This will benefit separating de facto couples in Western Australia who no longer need to go through the effort and expense of proceedings in two different courts.

Commonwealth Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has welcomed the changes.

“We will always champion legislation that makes the family law system fairer,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“The Commonwealth government is committed to restoring the family law system so that it is accessible, simpler to use, safer and delivers justice and fairness for all Australian families.”

West Australian Attorney-General John Quigley said he is delighted to bring this important change to Western Australia.

“The changes championed by Western Australia will put an end to the real and pronounced injustice that separating de facto couples have faced.

“It is a momentous day. For the first time in our state’s history, separating de facto couples in WA will be allowed to split their superannuation,” said Mr Quigley.