What is a De Facto Relationship?

Under the Family Law Act the court not only has the power to deal with property, maintenance and parenting matters in relation to married couples but also in relation to de facto and same sex couples in all states and territories except WA.

In Family Law, in order for a de facto or same sex relationship to come under the jurisdiction of the Family Law Act it must meet one or more of the following criteria;

  1. You have lived with your partner for at least 2 years; or
  2. There is a child of the de facto relationship; or
  3. A party to the de facto relationship has made significant contributions to the property or finances of their partner; or
  4. The de facto relationship is or was registered under a prescribed State or Territory law.
  5. You must have also lived at least 1/3 of your relationship in NSW or any other State or Territory except WA.

If there is any dispute between the parties about whether a de facto relationship exists the court will look at the following factors to determine if a de facto relationship exists;

  1. The length of the relationship;
  2. Whether you own property together;
  3. Whether you have shared finances;
  4. Whether a sexual relationship exists;
  5. Whether you have children together;
  6. Your living arrangements;
  7. Whether your de facto relationship is registered under any State or Territory law;
  8. How you present your relationship in public.

If you are or have been in a de facto relationship, and you require the assistance of the court to resolve your financial or spousal maintenance matters with your partner, then you must remember that there is a time limit for making your application to the court. Your application must be made within 2 years of the end of your relationship.

If you want to make an application to the court outside of this timeframe you must seek the permission of the court to do so and there is no guarantee that permission will be granted.

If you are having problems in your de facto relationship or your relationship has broken down Owen Hodge Lawyers’ dedicated family law solicitors can assist you with any questions or assistance you may require. Please contact us on 1800 770 780 to have a chat or make an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you

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