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The late Tina Turner famously asked this question while recording her fifth studio album in 1984.

Unfortunately for Mrs Turner, she didn’t have a lawyer with her in the studio at the time of recording to let her know that when it comes to protecting your assets, love can have a lot to do with it.

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 provides for equal sharing in the event of separation either of a marriage or de facto couple.

‘De facto couple’ is how the courts define relationships in which the two parties have spent three years together in a relationship, have a child together or one party has made a significant financial
contribution to the relationship.

Jack Hodgins, Solicitor has seen an increase in client’s that have been widowed and have since formed new relationships which may be considered by the courts to be a de facto relationship and as such liable to equal sharing under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.

When ascertaining whether a relationship is de facto or not, the courts look at a wide range of circumstances including:

• how long the relationship lasted.

• the extent to which the couple share a home.

• whether they have a physical relationship

• their financial and property arrangements and how much they depend on each other.

• their ownership, use and purchase of property.

• how committed they have both been to a shared life

• their care and support of children

• who does the housework and other household duties?

• if the partners are known to family and friends or other people as a couple.

If you believe you or someone you know may be in a de facto relationship and would like to know how to protect their assets, please contact the team at KT Law who would be happy to talk to you about whether contracting out of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 is appropriate.