De Facto Questions
I’m not Married. Do I have the same Rights as a Married couple?
There were some major changes made to de facto law in Australia in 2008 which effectively resulted in de facto couples separating after 1 March 2009 being able to seek property adjustment orders pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975 (in the Family Law Courts). You will also be able to easily seek parenting orders through the Court. Western Australian residents are still dealt with pursuant to their own State legislation and State Family Court.
The Family Law Act sets out the threshold requirements to be able to make a claim for property in the Court. Importantly, the relationship must have existed for at least 2 years. The 2 year period can be a continuous period or over stages.
If the relationship has not existed for at least 2 years, you can still apply to the Family Law Courts for a property order if:
- you have a child; or
- you made substantial contributions and it would result in a serious injustice if yo were not allowed to; or
- the relationship was registered under a prescribed law of the Territory or State.
Will the Court recognise my relationship as being De Facto?
The meaning of a de facto relationship is defined under the Act if:
- the persons are not legally married to each other; and
- the persons are not related by family; and
- having regard to all the circumstances in the relationship, they have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis
In determining whether the relationship is one of a couple, the Act identifies the following types of things to assist to make that determination: duration of relationship, whether there is a sexual relationship, whether the couple lives together, financial interdependence, ownership of property in joint names, the care of children and whether the public viewed the couple as being so.
You will have protection as a de facto couple whether you are from the opposite or same sex.