What Is A De facto Relationship And What Does it Mean For You?

De facto couples including same sex couples have had similar rights an obligations as married couples since 2009.

A couple is in a de facto relationship if they are living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis and are not otherwise related. A de facto relationship can also exist when one of the parties is legally married to someone else or in another de facto relationship.

To determine whether you are in a de facto relationship a Court considers:

  1. How long you have been together;
  2. The nature and extend of your common household;
  3. Whether there is a sexual relationship between you;
  4. Your financial involvement;
  5. Whether your relationship is registered;
  6. The care and support of children;
  7. Whether your relationship is public.

You can apply for property adjustment orders after separation provided that you have either been in a relationship for at least two years, have a child together, one or both of you made substantial contributions to

Applying for property adjustment and/or maintenance orders

The Family Law Act provisions only apply to a de facto party seeking to apply for property adjustment and/or maintenance orders when one of the following conditions are met:

  • The period, or the total periods, of the de facto relationship is at least two years
  • There is a child of the de facto relationship – this must be the child of both parties to the relationship
  • One or both parties to the relationship made substantial contributions and it would be seriously unjust for that party if the Act did not apply, or
  • The relationship is registered.
  • Time limits for making application to the court

A party to a de facto relationship can bring an application for a property settlement or maintenance under the Family Law Act within two years of the relationship ending.

After that time an application for a property settlement can only be made with the consent of the parties or with permission from the court.

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