De facto relationships are treated the same as a marriage under the Family Law Act and have rights in regard to property, children and maintenance.
You may be entitled to a share of the contributions made by you and your partner before or during the relationship and any future needs you may have going forward. You should seek legal advice to work out what you might be entitled to (it might be more than you’ve been led to believe).
In certain circumstances, a family lawyer might be able to advice you on a potential ‘range.’ A range is what percentage of the property pool the court might award you if the matter were litigated. Once you have this advice, you can use it to inform your position later on during negotiations.
De facto relationships are defined in section 4AA of the Family Law Act. There are a number of factors which a court might consider when determining whether a de facto relationship exists. Some of those factors are:
For a court to make an order about de facto property matters, the period of the de facto relationship must have been at least two years. If there are children or if substantial contributions were made during this short period, this rule can be circumvented.
Under the Family Law act, your de facto partner is treated in an almost identical way to a married spouse. At the end of the relationship, you might still be liable or be entitled to spousal maintenance or a property split in your favour, just like a marriage.
If you’re entering a de facto relationship declining to get married is not enough to protect you. You might find yourself surrendering assets or hard-earned superannuation to your de facto partner even though the parties adhered to a ‘what’s mine is mine’ arrangement during the relationship.
You have until two years after the de facto relationship ended to finalise your de facto property or maintenance issues. We strongly recommend doing something about it well before this time limit expires. Difficulties may arise if the parties have different opinions about exactly when the relationship ended. Perhaps the parties lived under the same roof for a while. Perhaps a party filed a form with Centrelink months earlier. Leaving things for over 12 months is a bad idea and advice about your de facto property matters should be sought as soon as possible.
Yes. You can enter into a Binding Financial Agreement (otherwise known as a “prenup”). This is an option available for both married couples and couples intending to marry or those who are contemplating living together in a de facto relationship.
Parenting matters are treated exactly the same for de facto relationships as they are for couples who are married. The court treats the children’s best interests as paramount. Like all parenting matters, it’s best to work things out in an amicable, sensible and mature fashion with your former partner, unless there’s concerns about domestic violence or child abuse.
Yes. A de facto relationship is any relationship between two people who live together in a marriage-like relationship, including same sex couples.
There is no obligation to register a de facto relationship to be entitled to a property settlement. Not all states or territories make provision in their state legislation for the registration of de facto relationships.
Cudmore Legal is on hand to deal with all of your de facto family law matters, before and after separation. Book now for a free initial consultation!