A de facto relationship is a one in which two people who are not married or related have lived together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. This includes same sex relationships.

Certain factors determine whether a couple have a de facto relationship including:

  • The duration of the relationship
  • Whether a sexual relationship exists
  • The degree of financial dependence and any arrangements for financial support
  • The ownership, use and acquisition of property
  • The care and support of children
  • The nature and extent of their common residence
  • The reputation and public aspects of the relationship
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life

You are entitled to seek a property settlement under the Family Law Act if you were separated on or after 1 March 2009 and your relationship falls within one of the following categories:

  • the period (or the total of the periods) of the de facto relationship is at least two years
  • there is a child of the de facto relationship
  • one of the partners made substantial financial or non-financial contributions to their property or as a homemaker or parent and serious injustice to that partner would result if the order was not made, or
  • the de facto relationship has been registered in a State or Territory with laws for the registration of relationships.

If your relationship broke down prior to 1 March 2009 the property settlement of your de facto relationship would be based on the following:

  • Financial contributions made during the relationship
  • Non-financial contributions made during the relationship
  • Contributions made as a parent and/or homemaker during the relationship.

Another option is to enter into a Binding Financial Agreement which can be entered into prior to cohabitation, during cohabitation or following separation.

Please note however that ALL de facto property settlements must be commenced within two years of the date of separation.