Family Law

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De Facto Relationships

The legal distinction between marriages and de facto relationships has virtually disappeared with changes to the Family Law Act in 2009. Parties in de facto relationships that have broken down since 1 March 2009 will have any proceedings (including property division) dealt with under the Family Law Act.

Where a separation in the de facto relationship has occurred prior to 1 March 2009, the relevant state legislation applies unless both parties agree to be governed by the Family Law Act.

The courts apply certain definitions in describing de facto relationships and it is important to note that any proceedings must be lodged within two years of the breakdown of the relationship.

Our family lawyers are experienced in guiding and advising clients in this area. We can also provide assistance in the area of Parenting Orders and Children’s Issues, Child Support, Financial Agreements, Property Settlements, Estate Planning and more.

Contact us for comprehensive legal advice in relation to defacto relationships and family law.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it the same as married couples?

Yes; from 2009 the law for de facto and same sex couples become the same as for married couples.

We don't live together, can we be de facto?

Yes, a regular pattern of a relationship is often enough – even, for instance if you are both married to other people.

I've got two years before he/she can make a claim right?

Maybe not, if you have a child or intermingle assets in a certain way, the two year minimum period limiting claims as a de facto might not apply to you – seek advise.

Can't we say we are just boyfriend/girlfriend?

Perhaps. The Judge’s list of ‘factors’ they take into account to assess whether you are de facto’s is a long list and is not exhaustive. Get good advice!

Family Law Articles

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