We have all heard of the friend or acquaintance that is in the middle of a divorce and the courts have split everything between the two parties, but that only happens when you split after being married, right? Wrong, according to Australian law “separating de facto couples have substantially the same rights and liabilities as married couples regarding property settlements.” So, what exactly is a de facto couple? According to the dictionary online “A de facto relationship is defined in Section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975. The law requires that you and your partner, who may be of the same or opposite sex, had a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.”

Now, that we know what de facto means let’s take a look at what can classify as a de facto relationship, shall we? You might be considered in a de facto relationship if one of both of you are legally married to someone else or are in another de facto relationship or even if you are in a committed relationship but you do not live together on a full-time basis.

A few examples of de facto relationships can include the following, but take note each situation is different and you will need to seek legal counsel to determine if you are in a de facto relationship or not. Mirabellas Solicitors, one of the most reputed names for family law in Melbourne, gives us some more tips on separation and de facto relationship claims.

  • You and your partner have been together for at least 2 years, you do not necessarily need to be living together but you need to be in a relationship together.
  •  You have made large purchases together where both names are on the purchase agreement or loan.
  • You have children from the relationship that you both care for mutually
  • Your relationship was registered under a state or territory law

Claims that can be made in a de facto relationship:

  • Child support claims (if they came from the relationship in question)
  • Division of property (Determined through other factors)
  • Custody of children (if they came from the relationship in question)

Again, these are just generalised examples of de facto relationship factors if you need a definite answer to the question “Am I in a de facto relationship?” you will need to speak with a legal team.