While the break-up of a marriage is a fairly clear-cut process when it comes to legally dissolving the relationship by divorce, there are a few more grey areas when a couple ends a de facto relationship.
Generally speaking, in Australia a de facto relationship is considered one where the couple have lived together on a ‘genuine domestic basis.’
Additionally, the Family Law Act requires that the de facto relationship lasted for at least two years or that there is a child of the relationship.
There are also some other factors taken into account to prove de facto status of a relationship, including:
- The length of the relationship;
- The nature and extent of the common residence, including each person’s household duties;
- Whether a sexual relationship existed;
- Fnancial dependence and interdependence of the parties, such as joint accounts or pooled funds;
- Ownership and acquisition of ‘property’, including real estate and other assets;
- Mutual consent to a shared life;
- Whether the relationship is registered under the law of the State in which the parties reside(d);
- Care and support of any children of the relationship, or prior relationships; and
- Whether the relationship is publicly known, such as attending events as a couple or whether you appear to be a couple for all other intents and purposes.
The Family Law Act specifically states that it covers both heterosexual and same sex relationships.
Do de facto couples have different rights to married ones?
No, de facto couples have the same access to the family law system as married couples, including in matters of involving parenting and property disputes.
De facto couples need to be aware that a Court application on property matters needs to be within two years of the date of their separation.
There are no time limits to make applications with the court for parenting related disputes for de facto or married persons.
How Can Ivy Law Group Help You
If your de facto relationship breaks up, it is a good idea to consult one of our experienced Sydney family lawyers who can advise on everything from proving your de facto status to time limits. If you have a will or have nominated an enduring power of attorney, there are also some specific issues relating to de facto relationships which you should be aware of. Speak to one of our experienced legal professionals to put your mind at ease.
At Ivy Law Group we are committed to sharing useful information regularly. We understand for some people the importance of getting some context around your legal issue before engaging legal help!
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