A de facto relationship is one where the parties are not legally married, but are treated as a married couple for the purposes of the Family Law Act.
There are a number of factors within the Act that determine whether or not two people are in a de facto relationship. These include:
- How long the parties have been in a relationship together
- Whether they share a home
- Whether they are sexually intimate
- How financially intermingled they are
- Whether they make joint purchases and use their property jointly
- Whether there are children of the relationship
- Whether they publicly represent as a couple
If there is a dispute about whether two people were in a de facto relationship, the court will review these factors to make a decision.
Under the Family Law Act, a same-sex de facto relationship is treated no differently. People in a same-sex de facto relationship are able to seek both parenting and property settlement orders from the Family Law Courts.
If your de facto relationship breaks down, you can seek a property settlement in the Family Law Courts within two years after the breakdown. You can apply for a property settlement after this time only in special circumstances and with leave of the court. If you have children, you are able to apply for parenting orders at any time.