What You Should Know Before Buying a Home as a de facto Couple

YNM Real Estate
18 December 2021

In a fast paced society, it can sometimes be difficult to follow tradition. One of the ways we, as a society, have managed to do this is to spend time living with our partners before choosing to wed. This sort of relationship is legally recognized as a de facto relationship.

Am I in a de facto Relationship?

The law recognizes all people who live together in a ‘genuine domestic’ relationship, are not married, and are not related as being a de facto couple. Normally the law requires the individuals to have been together for a period of 2 years before recognizing the relationship, though in some cases this can be overlooked. If these criteria describe your relationship you are in a de facto relationship.

How Does Being in a de facto Relationship Change Things?

In the past few years, laws have been passed to protect the rights of those in de facto relationships. The laws that were passed give de facto couples the right to obtain property settlements and, if necessary, request spousal maintenance. This means that the courts can order a division of any property owned either by one or both individuals.

What if I Don’t Want These Laws to Apply to My Relationship?

If you don’t want these laws to apply to your relationship, you should have a conversation with your partner about creating a Binding Financial Agreement. These agreements work much like pre-nuptial agreements in protecting your assets should your relationship end. If you’ve put more towards the purchase of your home than your partner has, you may want to consider this option.

You also have a conversation about filling as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. Both of these agreements are made to create an ownership structure that dictates what will happen with your property should one of you pass away. If you file under a Joint Tenant status, your half of the property will be given to your partner in the event of your passing. If you file under a Tenants in Common status the deceased person’s will is used to determine how their share of the property will be distributed.

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