What is a De Facto relationship?
Two people are in a de facto relationship if they:
- are not married to each other
- are not related by family; and
- they are living together on a genuine domestic basis as a couple.
The definition applies to both different sex and same sex couples.
Were you in a De Facto relationship and now separated?
In recent times the law in Australia has improved to give de facto couples across Australia similar rights and obligations as partners who are married.
What does the Court take into account in determining whether persons are a couple?
The Court will consider:
- the duration of the relationship;
- the nature and extent of their common residence;
- whether a sexual relationship exists;
- the degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between them;
- the ownership, use and acquisition of their property;
- the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
- whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory as a prescribed kind of relationship;
- the care and support of children;
- the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.
Can you apply for property or maintenance orders?
If you were in a de facto relationship, you can only apply for property or maintenance orders if you fall under one of the following categories:
- the period, or the total of the periods, of the de facto relationship is at least two years
- there is a child of the de facto relationship
- substantial contributions have been made to the relationship and a failure to make an order would result in serious injustice to the applicant
- the relationship is or was registered under a law of a State or Territory
Is there a time limit to make an application to Court?
Yes. If you de facto relationship has broken down, you have two years to make an application for a property settlement or maintenance order. After two years have elapsed, you either need the consent of your former partner, or leave from the Court – which cannot be guaranteed.