De facto relationships

Under the Family Law Act 1975, a person is in a de facto relationship with another person if they are not legally married to each other, they are not related by family and they have such a relationship that they are a couple (same or opposite sex) living together on a genuine domestic basis.

If it is in dispute that a couple had been in a de facto relationship, there are a number of issues that the Courts consider in determining whether or not they were.  Importantly, they must have lived together on a genuine domestic basis for at least two years without separation. However, if there are children or substantial contributions to joint property, there are exceptions to this rule.

In terms of children’s matters and child support issues, the applicable law is the same as that which is applied to the children of married couples.

For property matters, different laws apply to de facto couples who separated before or after 1 March 2009.

A de facto partner seeking property and/or spousal maintenance Orders from the Courts must commence proceedings within two years from the date of separation, failing which he/she will have to seek the Court’s leave to proceed with the application outside of this time limitation period.

For advice in relation to the above or any other Family Law issues please do not hesitate to contact our office to arrange an initial half-an-hour conference with one of our lawyers, free of charge on 03 9366 5555.

To book a consultation with our family law team, call us today on 03 9366 5555.