Recent Cases

Fairbairn v Radecki [2022] HCA 18 (11 May 2022) (Kiefel CJ, Gageler, Keane, Gordon, Edelman, Steward and Gleeson JJ)


Family law – De facto financial cause – Alteration of property interests – Meaning of “breakdown of de facto relationship” – Where appellant and respondent had been in de facto relationship and resided in appellant’s home – Where appellant and respondent agreed to keep assets strictly separate – Where appellant subsequently suffered rapid cognitive decline and diagnosed with dementia – Where NSW Trustee and Guardian (“Trustee”) appointed to manage appellant’s financial affairs – Where Trustee moved appellant into aged care facility permanently and resolved to sell appellant’s home to fund aged care facility costs – Where respondent opposed proposed sale of home – Where Trustee sought property settlement orders pursuant to s 90SM of Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) – Whether de facto relationship had broken down within meaning of s 90SM.

Words and phrases – “assets strictly separate”, “breakdown of a de facto relationship”, “cognitive decline”, “cohabitation”, “de facto relationship”, “financial manager”, “living together on a genuine domestic basis”, “mutual commitment to a shared life”, “necessary or desirable adjustments”, “NSW Trustee and Guardian”, “property settlement orders”, “sharing life as a couple”.