What is a De Facto Relationship?
Am I in a De Facto Relationship? Answering this question is the first step before making or defending a claim for property settlement or spousal support.
Under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) a de facto relationship is defined as a relationship between two people (whether of the same or opposite sex) who are not legally married or related by family and who, having regard to all of the circumstances of their relationship, live together on a genuine domestic basis.
To determine if a couple lives together on a genuine domestic basis, the Court will look at factors such as the duration of the relationship, if the couple lived together, how long they’ve lived together, if they share children, the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life, the degree of financial dependence or interdependence and if a sexual relationship exists, amongst other factors.
To prove de facto status, generally speaking couples need to have been in a relationship for two years or more. However, there are particular circumstances in which exceptions to this law are made.
How Can a Family Law Firm Help?
Identifying that a relationship exists in a marriage is straightforward due to the requirement to register the marriage. In addition to this, the duration of the marriage is easily identifiable from the date of marriage and the date of separation will usually be recorded for the purposes of divorce proceedings.
On the other hand, de facto relationships are usually not registered, and it can be challenging to prove or disprove that a de facto relationship existed, or how long the relationship went for, when it began or when it ended.
As a result, disputes following the breakdown of de facto relationships can be legally complex, making it essential to gain legal advice from a specialist de facto lawyer.
Property settlement time limits apply to de facto relationships, so it’s important to gain timely advice as you may miss the deadline to make a claim for property settlement or maintenance to the Court and risk losing assets you are entitled to.
If you are thinking of leaving your de facto relationship or have already separated, our de facto lawyers will provide you with expert legal advice for your unique circumstances. We will answer any questions you have and help you to understand your options.
Even if you think you may be in a de facto relationship and aren’t planning on separating, a Melbourne de facto lawyer can advise you on how to protect assets in de facto relationships.