De facto couples and married couples have the same rights when it comes to the law.

Laws introduced in March 2009 give de-facto couples who are separating the same rights as married couples.

This means the Family Law Courts can order a division of any property that the couple own, either separately or together. This includes superannuation which can be split between the couple.

What is a de-facto relationship?

A de-facto relationship is a relationship that two people who are not married or related by family have as a couple, living together on a 'genuine domestic basis'. It can exist between two people of the opposite sex, or between people of the same sex.

Maddens Lawyers can help you determine if your relationship is recognised in law by considering the circumstances of the relationship. These circumstances might include:

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

Once we have established that your relationship is recognised in law, Maddens Lawyers will help determine the total value of the property pool that needs to be divided up.

Time limits apply

Parties to a de-facto relationship must apply to one of the Family Law Courts within two years of the end of their relationship. The court may grant leave to make an application after the end of that period, but this is usually only in limited circumstances.


Talk to us. Family Law Experts

More questions? Contact our Family Law expert

Lucy Doherty

Lucy Doherty

Senior Lawyer

PH: 03 5560 2000