New de facto laws mean cheats no longer prosper

2 March 2009


Professor Patrick Parkinson AM says The Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) is a "lawyer's paradise."

Speaking in the Sunday Telegraph, Professor Parkinson said the laws treat de facto relationships the same as marriage.

"What you are saying is that, in terms of property separation, it comes down to 'for better or for worse, till death do us part': if you've made that commitment, fair enough."

"But young people live together for a variety of reasons, such as to save rent, and don't see themselves as taking responsibility for each other for the rest of their lives."

Professor Parkinson also questioned the Federal Government's claim that the definition of a de-facto relationship in the Amendment was "tight."

"The law says you can be in two relationships simultaneously," Professor Parkinson  said.

"Take a situation where a wealthy man has a wife at home and another relationship he keeps in an apartment in Potts Point where he spends a few nights a week, telling the wife he is away on business.

"There is a high probability the court will see this as a de facto relationship.

"It's a lawyer's paradise."

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