De Facto Law Lawyers Perth

The Australian legal system recognises the relationship between two people without the requirement of marriage. This is known as a “de facto relationship”. De facto relationships are considered as a “marriage-like” relationship and are treated as such.

According to the most recent ‘Household, Income and Labour Dynamics’ in Australia (HILDA) survey, 51.8% of all Australian couples are married and 10.4% are in a de-facto relationship. However, property division and child welfare arrangements may become confusing for people in de facto relationships as while in most aspects de-facto relationships are treated the same as marriage, there are a few differences.

Therefore, it is best to seek legal advice from an experience family law firm like us, with the best lawyers in the market for assisting in legal problems with de facto cases.

De Facto Relationships

A de facto relationship is defined as a relationship between two people of the same or opposite gender who are not married or otherwise related. When determining whether a de facto relationship the Court will have regard to various criteria such as:

  • The duration of the relationship;
  • Whether the parties have a romantic or sexual relationship;
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  • Whether the parties live together or have a common residence;
  • How the parties deal with their finances;
  • Do the parties have any children;
  • Whether the relationship was registered; and
  • Do friends and family members consider that they are in a relationship.

The law permits a person who is in a married relationship with another person of either gender to be in a de facto relationship with a third individual. Generally, you must be in a de facto relationship for two years with the same person in order to be given the same legal rights as a married couple. However, if there are children of the relationship or one party has made a substantial contributions to the relationship, this rule may be waived. Any legal dispute concerning children, separation, and property division is governed by the Family Court Act 1997 (WA). Please contact our experienced team of Family Lawyer to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your de facto relationship.

Legal Rights And Responsibilities of De Facto Partners

In the unfortunate event that your de facto relationship comes to an end, it is important that you are fully aware of your rights under Australian Law. We understand that the end of a relationship is a difficult and stressful time. We can assist you in making sure that you are well protected after your separation and help prevent future legal proceedings.

Disputes concerning Children And Property Settlement

Each relationship is unique and the Court will consider each case separately based on the unique circumstances of each relationship. However, the Court will follow a general process in de facto matters. Firstly, the court will determine whether you are eligible for de facto relationship property rights by considering factors such as:

  • Whether you are married;
  • The time you have been together in the relationship;
  • Did sexual relations occur in the relationship;
  • Economic reliance of the parties;
  • The extent of commitment to a mutually shared life;
  • Whether your relationship is registered or formalised by any institutions;
  • Use and ownerships of property;
  • Best interest of the children if any; and
  • Public aspects of the relationship.

You can be in a de-facto relationship with more than one person at the same time.

Settlement Of Property Rights

De facto couples can make an application to the Family Court under the Family Court Act regarding property settlement if they cannot reach an agreement. The Family Court will consider the assets owned by each of the partners at the commencement of the relationship, the total value of the current assets, the contributions made by each person during the relationship and their future needs including childcare, earning capabilities and access to financial resources.

Rights And Responsibilities With Children

Under Family Law, children born to or adopted by de facto couples are recognised as children of both parents. The best interest of the children will prevail in determining the child’s care arrangements. This can include where the child resides, which parent has the care of the child and at what times, and arrangements for communicating with the child. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, both parents are responsible for the care and financial support of the child. It is important to also consider your rights and obligations in regards to child support.

How Family Lawyers Can Help You With The Breakdown Of A De Facto Relationship?

In the unfortunate event that your de facto relationship comes to an end, our experienced team of Family Lawyers can advise you as to your legal rights and obligations and help protect your finances and children. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the best options for you moving forward.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A de facto relationship exists between two individuals who are not legally married and reside together on a genuine home basis. This particular definition applies to all the territories and states in Australia, except for Western Australia. It’s because, in WA, the de fact relationship is governed by state-based legislation.

When you are within a de facto relationship, you can easily divide your property between you and your partner by applying to the Federal Court Circuit or the Family Court. It will you receive a proper settlement for your assets under the Family Court Act. The filing should be done within two years.

The legal rights for being within a de facto relationship are the same as the marriage rights. You and your partner will have the same legal responsibilities and privileges as the married couples do regarding family law matters like financial settlements, property, and spousal maintenance.

The first two requirements for proving your de facto relationship in Court are that both you and your partner should not be legally married and should not be related to the family. The third requirement is pretty contentious as you have to prove that they are living with your partner on a genuine home basis. 

A de facto relationship is legal when you and your partner have lived together for two years without any separation. On the other hand, the de facto relationship will be considered legal if the couple has one or more than one child from the relationship.

When you are in a de facto relationship, the legal rights are entirely the same as a married couple. You will receive all the rights with regards to property division and maintenance. You will also receive the opportunity to apply for care when your partner cannot support themselves. 

When your de facto relationship breaks down, you will have 2 years from the date of separation to apply at the Family Law Courts for all the property orders. If you use it after the 2-year period ends, you need to take permission from the Court to get the work done. 

When it comes to de facto relationships, the Court will make an order after considering some factors. 

• Whether or not the couple is married. 
• How long the couple has been together and whether they have been together for years or longer than that.
• Whether or not they have or had an intimate relationship. 

According to the Family Law Act, the de facto relationship is viewed as a relationship where two people, same-sex or opposite, have a relationship and live together as a couple within a genuine home basis. 

In short, yes. A de facto relationship is possible when one of the parties is married to someone else. This is possible between same-sex and opposite couples. 

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