De Facto Relationships


Whether or not you are in a de facto relationship is important because a de facto partner may apply for orders to split your assets or to get spousal maintenance from you. A de facto partner may also seek to inherit some or all of your assets if you were to pass away.

We’ve often heard from clients that they and their partner are not in a de facto relationship because they’ve not lived together for 2 years. The length of time you and your partner have been living together is just one factor considered by the Court. The Court will also look at whether you have children together, the way you live together, how you deal with financial matters, and how your friends and family see your relationship.

Are you and your partner not married but are living together, have a child together or have intermingled finances? If so, you may be in a de facto relationship.  If you are in a de facto relationship, yours and your partner’s respective assets, debts and financial resources may be split with each other if you were to separate. 

Once it has been established that you were in a de facto relationship, then you have almost identical rights and obligations with respect to the division of assets and spousal maintenance as a married person. If you and your partner are not yet separated, we can assist you with protecting your assets if you’re concerned about what would happen if you and partner were to separate in the future. If you and your partner have already separated, we can assist you with negotiating a fair settlement.

Please visit our Property Settlements section for more information on the steps the Court takes in dividing assets, debts and financial resources.

It’s important to note that if you were in a de facto relationship, you only have two years from the date of separation to apply for property division and spousal maintenance orders without first needing to obtain special permission of the Court. It’s therefore critical to sort out your financial matters with your ex as soon as possible after you separate.

The Court deals with parenting matters concerning de facto parents in the same way as married parents. Please visit our Child Custody Arrangements section for more information.

Contact one of our family lawyers today for an obligation free chat

Or call us on: (03) 9803 5673