De Facto Relationships
A de facto relationship exists where a couple, regardless of gender, are living together on a genuine domestic basis. That means, unlike marriage in Australia, you can be in a same sex de facto relationship. For more information specific to Same Sex relationships please visit our Same Sex Relationships information.
In most circumstances, determining whether or not you are in a de facto relationship is fairly straightforward. If you’re living together as a couple, you’ve more or less passed the test. But some people’s circumstances aren’t so clear cut. It might be a long distance relationship, or maybe one party is a “fly-in fly-out” worker, or one of you might be married to someone else or have multiple partners. The law recognises that relationships come in all shapes and sizes.
When it comes to parenting, it doesn’t matter what kind of relationship you are in, or whether you are in a relationship at all, for the Court to make orders about the care of your children.
The only real difference in the treatment of married and de facto is the Court’s ability to make Orders about property. Although the substance of the law is now the same for married and de facto couples, the Court only has the ability to make Orders about property when the Applicant’s rights “kick in”.
From the moment a couple get married they get automatic access to the provisions of the Family Law Act that relate to the division of property and other financial matters. De facto couples are not as lucky (or unlucky as the case may be). If you are in a de facto relationship there are rules about when you become eligible to make an application to the Court about property. There are also rules about how long you can wait after you have separated before you make your application.
We recommend that you contact us for specific advice in relation to whether you may be in a de facto relationship for the purposes of a property adjustment under the Family Law Act.
Questions we can help you answer:
Am I in a de facto relationship according to the law?
If my partner and I have never lived together but we share property, what happens to the property if we separate?
My partner moved into the home that I bought in my name prior to our relationship. We have now separated. Does he/she have a legal or other interest in the property?
I separated from a former partner and am now in a new relationship but did not have a property settlement with my former partner, am I at risk?
If I have a child with someone else but I do not consider that we are in a relationship, is my property at risk and how do I protect myself?
My former partner and I cannot agree on how to divide our property, what are the options available to us to reach agreement?
My former partner and I have reached agreement in relation to the division of our property, how do we formalise the agreement so that it is legally binding?