De Facto

The end of a de facto relationship can be a time of uncertainty as there is often confusion as to what rights you have. Whilst there are some differences in how the law handles financial matters of de facto couples, parenting matters are treated in the same manner as a married couple. We offer you practical advice as to the options available to you and the best method to move forward.

We understand the need for clarity in these circumstances. If you have experienced a break down in your de facto relationship, it is important to obtain advice as soon as possible. We will help you avoid any impediment to the smooth settlement of your matter.


What is a de facto relationship?

A de facto relationship is a relationship that exists between two people who are not married, but are living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. There are a number of factors that relate to whether persons have a relationship as a couple including:
The duration of the relationship;
The nature and extent of their common residence;
Whether a sexual relationship exists;
The degree of financial dependence between the couple;
The public aspects of the relationship;
The care and support of children.

Does the law recognize same sex de facto relationships?

Yes, the Family Law Courts recognise same sex de facto relationships.

Can I apply to the Courts for parenting orders for my children?

Yes. The Family Law Courts treat de facto couples in the exact same manner as married couples with regard to parenting matters.

Can I apply to the Courts for a property settlement for my de facto relationship?

Yes, you are able to make an application to the Courts for a property settlement. There are some limits that apply upon an application made by a de facto couple being that the relationship must have lasted at least 2 year, or if there is a child in the de facto relationship.

In some circumstances an application can be made even if it does not satisfy either of these requirements however we encourage you to obtain legal advice to ascertain the possibility of doing same.

Is there a time limit for me to apply for a property settlement for my de facto relationship?

Yes there is a time limit that applies for claims for a property settlement for a de facto relationship, which is two years after the date of separation. This also applies for a claim for spousal maintenance for a de facto relationship. There are ways to make a claim after this time period however this should not be relied upon.
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