What are my legal rights after a de facto relationship ends in Australia?

May 9, 2024    Familylawyers
What are my legal rights after a de facto relationship ends in Australia?

In recent years, de facto relationships have considerably gained recognition and legal protection. Though de facto relationships differ from married couples, the rights and duties of the couples are protected under the state and federal de facto relationship law in Perth, providing them legal status comparable to married couples in many aspects.

You have the same rights as a married couple regarding maintenance and property split if you are in Australia. The same applies to same-sex de facto couples. However, simply living with someone and having a sexual interaction with them does not constitute a de facto relationship.

This website blog will discuss the legal rights after a de facto relationship ends in Australia:

Defining a De Facto Relationship?

This is a relationship in which two people live together but are not legally married. The Family Law Act of 1975 recognises de facto relationships and grants them similar rights and obligations to married couples. It applies to every couple, no matter the sex.

What are the rights of de facto partners in Australia?

Once the de facto relationship gets registered or meets the time requirements, you often have rights similar to those of married couples, as stated under Australian law. However, sometimes, it isn’t easy to prove the relationship existed.

Married couples receive legal documents as confirmation of their marriage, but de facto partners may need help establishing the relationship, especially if one party claims that the partnership has a solid domestic base. Registering your de facto relationship can help in this situation.

Understanding De facto Relationship Property Rights

Let us look into the several de facto relationship property rights:

1. When do de facto relationship entitlements arise?

If the relationship has ended, you may have de facto rights to both your partner’s and the relationship’s property. They are sometimes known as de facto separation entitlements WA.

You can file a property claim under the Australian Family Law Act if:

  • The de facto relationship was registered.
  • Before parting, you and your ex-partner lived together in a genuine domestic setting for at least two years.
  • You and your former partner have a child or children.
  • You and your former partner have struck a property settlement agreement and have sought the Family Court to make consent orders based on it.

Property may include:

  • Bank accounts
  • Investment options include real estate, stocks, and other assets.
  • Business assets
  • Personal property, including cars.
  • Debts Superannuation

2. What rights do I have if my de facto relationship ends?

Your circumstances determine the entitlements you get from your de facto relationship. Your entitlements will differ from those of others because each circumstance is unique. However, Australian family law provides certain basic norms and criteria for determining former de facto partners’ property entitlements.

The most significant consideration is the time restriction. You have two years from the date of separation to file a property claim with the Family Court. Typically, a claim is filed after unsuccessful attempts to reach an agreement. Thus, the parties employ these two years to negotiate an arrangement.

3. Does having children together make any difference to the break-up entitlements?

If you have children with your former partner, you do not need to complete the two-year time limit for living together. The time limit no longer applies once a child is involved.

Having children may affect your divorce entitlements in a variety of ways. For example:

  • You may be eligible for child support for infants who require constant support or must pay child support.
  • If you or your partner have given up or decreased work hours to care for children, one of you may require spousal maintenance for financial support.
  • If you made a major financial or non-financial contribution to the relationship (for example, giving up work to care for children), this might be recognized by a property division in your favour.

How can I effectively protect my assets in a de facto relationship?

If you want to preserve your belongings, one of the first things you should do is thoroughly understand what you own before moving in together. It is useful to keep a list, as well as any estimates.

As your de facto relationship approaches two years, you should know that your partner will have rights to your property, including any property you possessed before the relationship began. If you are concerned about your relationship’s stability, please seek legal assistance from a de facto relationship lawyer in Perth.

If you have children together or register your relationship, you should know that your de facto partner already has property rights. Hence, to protect your pre-assets, it is suggested that you sign a property settlement agreement with the help of family lawyers in Perth WA.


The best family lawyers in Perth are experts in de facto relationship entitlements. They will assist you to look through your property and assets and decide whether or not to file a claim. Also, they provide guidance targeting your unique needs and aim to reduce stress.

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