Case Study: Helping A Client Keep Their Home

man packing boxes
A relationship break-up nearly cost our client their home.

Family Law Matter: After a relationship breakdown our client faced losing his home and the proceeds to his ex-girlfriend, whom had not been involved in the original purchase.

Client Story

A young guy in his twenties had worked hard and purchased his own home. He invited his girlfriend to move in with him, but after 18 months they broke up and she moved out. She lodged a caveat on the title of his property and filed an application in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, seeking orders for the home to be sold and the entire proceeds paid to her (later amended to only 60% to her).

He was in a state of enormous distress when Michael first met with him.

The Issues

  1. Whether the relationship satisfied the legislative definition of a ‘de facto relationship’
  2. Whether the girlfriend had made sufficient contributions to the home to satisfy the court that she should receive some form of cash adjustment or portion of the sale proceeds
  3. If yes to both of the above, how much or what portion she should receive

What We Did

After negotiations failed, the matter ran to trial before a judge. Michael appeared as the trial advocate against an experienced barrister. He sought dismissal of the girlfriend’s case, meaning she would receive no payment or proceeds whatsoever.

The Outcome

Michael cross-examined the girlfriend and her witnesses for the entirety of the first day of the trial. On the morning of the second day the girlfriend withdrew her claim. The proceedings were dismissed and Michael then obtained an order for the girlfriend to pay our client’s costs. 

Our young client kept his first home and still has it today.

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