De Facto Relationships

by

What is a de facto relationship?

A de facto relationship is defined under section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975 . Since 2009, the Family Courts have the ability to make orders for both financial and parenting matters for those involved in a de facto relationship, as long as that relationship can be proved.

 

How do I know if I am in a de facto relationship?

The court in considering whether or not you were in fact part of a de facto relationship takes into account several factors in weighing up their decision including;

  • The duration of the relationship;
  • Whether there were any children of the relationship;
  • The nature and extent of your residence;
  • Whether a sexual relationship existed;
  • Whether you purchased any joint property together;
  • How others viewed your relationship; and
  • Whether you were financially interdependent or dependant.

 

I am still married can you still be a party to a de facto relationship?

You can still be considered part of a de facto relationship if you have another relationship outside your marriage. If you have re-partnered and are not yet divorced, you could be considered to be part of a de facto relationship with your new partner.

 

I do not live with my partner can I still be considered part of a de facto relationship?

Although a de facto relationship is defined as a relationship where two parties are living together on a genuine domestic basis, you do not necessarily need to be living with your partner 100% of the time. While you may not be permanently sharing one address or consider yourselves living together at one primary address, the courts take into account the other factors as listed above as well as your current living circumstances.

 

What does it mean if we separate?

If your de facto relationship breaks down, you could be entitled to a financial settlement .  For financial matters you are required to apply for property orders within a 2 year period after the breakup of the relationship.

In determining what is a just and equitable  division of property the court can take into consideration the following factors including .

  • The financial position of both parties at the start of the relationship;
  • The financial position of both parties at the end of the relationship;
  • The current asset pool;
  • The financial and non financial contributions made during the relationship;
  • The health, income and earning capacity of each party; and
  • Who will have primary care of  the child.

It is advisable to consult a family lawyer  in relation  to your entitlements following the break down on a de facto relationship.