Defacto Relationships

Kate Walker, Accredited Family Law Specialist has extensive experience in dealing with Defacto relationship separation.  Kate’s down to earth, caring approach to Family Law puts her clients at ease immediately.

Call Kate now on 1800 087 934 for your initial family law consultation.

Am I in a defacto relationship?

In order to qualify as a defacto relationship for the purposes of family law, you must satisfy ONE of the following:

  • have predominantly lived together for a period of 2 years OR
  • there have been substantial contributions to the parties’ property (including as a homemaker or a parent) and that not making an order would be an injustice; OR
  • There is a child of the relationship.

Other requirements are that you must also be living in a genuine domestic relationship, both not legally married and are over 18 and not related.

Same sex relationships are now included in the definition of de facto relationships.

What is the difference between marriage and defacto after separation?

Property division, otherwise known as property settlement and care of the children or children’s orders, are treated much the same way as married couples and covered by the same legislation (the Commonwealth Family Law Act). If the matter ends up in the Family Court, both married couples and defacto couples are heard in the same courts.

Does it affect care arrangements, more commonly known as children’s orders for children or division of property?

No. Parenting after separation is dealt with in the same way as married couples and the best interests of the children are the paramount consideration when it comes to making any arrangements for the children.  When it comes to children, there is no time limit in seeking the help of the Court should you and your partner not be able to agree on care arrangements or circumstances change. However, it is a legal requirement to attend mediation prior to seeking the court’s help unless there are circumstances such as a history of family violence where mediation is not appropriate.

In relation to property matters, for defacto relationships there is 2 year time period after separation that you can seek help from the Courts – for married couples it is 12 months after divorce. It is possible to lodge an application with the Court after this time has expired but the Court will require a good explanation regarding the delay and will also look at the “prejudice” to the parties of the application being brought out of time. This increases legal costs. There is also the possibility that the Court may reject the application.