In Australia, extra-marital relationships can lead to “divorce” litigation:
Mistresses can now claim income maintenance, property and even superannuation funds under the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures), dubbed the “mistress laws”, which were passed by the Senate last November and came into effect today (March 1).
The main objective is to remove same-sex discrimination from the Family Court system, but they have left the door open for a raft of de facto relationship claims.
The laws declare that de facto couples who satisfy basic criteria – such as being in the relationship for at least two years – will be treated in the Family Court in the same way as a married couple. It also applies to same-sex couples.
The laws will change the way property is divided by enabling the court to consider the “future needs” of partners, as it does for married couples.
Men or women who have a second relationship outside a marriage are now liable to legal action in the Family Court should the second partner decide he or she deserves income support or a share of assets. This is particularly the case if a child is involved.