Are you in a de facto relationship? An unmarried and unrelated couple participating in a relationship on a genuine domestic basis may be considered to be in a de facto relationship. A same sex couple meeting the relevant criteria under the Family Law Act 1975 are also considered to be in a de facto relationship.
What is the relevant criteria?
In determining whether a couple is to be considered a de facto relationship the Court will consider the following:
a. The length of the relationship;
b. Whether the couple shares a residence;
c. Whether there is a sexual relationship;
d. How the couple arranges their property and finances;
e. Any children of the couple and the provision of their care; and
f. The reputation and public look of the relationship.
Why does this matter?
Parties to a de facto relationship can apply to the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Court for orders in relation to children of the relationship in the same way as married couples.
Parties to a de facto relationship can also apply to these courts to have financial matters determined. This is similar to the process where married couples divorce and seek resolution of their property matters.
Applying for de facto financial orders
A party to a de facto relationship may apply to the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Court for financial orders. A financial order may be required on the break down of a de facto relationship. Such agreements can cover financial settlement, support and any incidental issues which arise.
Parties to an eligible de facto relationship have two years to apply for financial orders.
It is advisable to obtain legal advice to confirm if you were in an eligible de facto relationship and are entitled to seek financial orders before beginning legal action.
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