Found this on news.com.au today. I guess it is like all legislation - you hear some of the details but not all. I knew that there had been changes to the Family Law Act to give de facto and same-sex couples additional "rights" I didn't know that these changes also applied to mistresses.
$100k payout for jilted lover in Victoria
A CHEATING husband has paid his former lover more than $100,000 under Australia's new "mistress laws".
In the first known case of its kind in Victoria, the Melbourne businessman was sued under changes to the Family Law Act - which gives rights to people in de facto relationships and same-sex marriages, the Sunday Herald Sun reports.
Legal experts say the case, prompted by the end of an affair of more than 20 years, will strike fear into the hearts of philanderers nationwide.
The woman, who has not been named for legal reasons, said not only did she deserve the money, but others should follow her lead.
"I gave him the best years of my life," she said.
"He always told me he would look after me, then he left me. I had committed myself fully to him for all those years and it just came to a dead end.
"He behaved like a gentleman toward me throughout our relationship - except at the end - and now he has been a gentleman again by doing the right thing.
"I saw our relationship as a loving companionship.
"He got a lot of relaxation away from the stresses of his business life. When he came to me he did not have to worry about business.
"And I provided him with a lot of moral and emotional support.
"So this is also about giving our relationship a validity. It is a recognition that I have added something of value to his life.
"Now I am beginning to come to terms with life again. The money provides me with a security in my later years.
"This law has made a difference for me, so hopefully it will make a difference for others like me."
The lawyer for the woman who took the action said his client "Mary" (not her real name) started the affair with "Tom" (not his real name) more than 20 years ago, with the pair enjoying a close bond throughout the period.
"Many marriages don't last that long," the lawyer said.
Mary accompanied Tom on several overseas and interstate trips and she often joined him at dinner functions.
"They had a mutual commitment to each other and Tom promised he'd look after her. But he was married and still is married."
Though Mary worked and had her own home, Tom also gave her a monthly allowance running into four figures.
The pair - now pension-age - had regular sex and Tom showered her with gifts, the lawyer added.
But Tom ended the affair this year.
Mary said she was devastated at being dropped.
Then she learned of the law change and her legal team sent a letter of demand - quoting the new legislation - to the man.
"It settled (out of court) within weeks," her lawyer said.
"If it had not been for this law, my client would have been abandoned, left on the scrap heap.
"This is an acknowledgment that if you are in any substantial relationship, each party has a level of commitment to each other."
The new federal laws for maintenance and division of assets for de facto couples, mistresses and same-sex couples came into effect on March 1 and any disputes are heard by the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates' Court.
The laws give some mistresses, as well as de facto and same-sex couples, the same rights as married couples.
A mistress wanting maintenance or a pay-out had to prove the couple had a long-term relationship, a sexual relationship, financial dependency, a commitment and a public recognition of the relationship, Mary's lawyer said.