De facto

In our everyday living, a de facto relationship is often viewed as similar to a marital relationship. In the legal context, a de facto relationship is different to a marital relationship. There is no single definition that clearly defines its meaning and there are different time limitations and legal procedures during an application for a separation. Due to the complexity surrounding this area of law, we advised that you seek professional legal advice from our experienced Family Lawyers in Ascent Lawyers.

What is a de facto relationship?

According to s 44A of the Family Law Act 1975, a de facto relationship is defined as two people (same or opposite sex), who are not married, but live together as a couple in a genuine domestic basis.

Do I need to register for a de facto relationship?

In Queensland, de facto partners can register their relationship. This is called a civil partnership. This can be done as a sign of commitment for legal reasons.

A registered relationship is not the same as a marriage and it ends if either party marries.

How do I end a de facto relationship?

You may end your de facto relationship by informing your ex-partner about it. You are not required to apply to the court, to fill any forms or receive a separation certificate.

If you have registered your de facto relationship (civil partnership), your civil partnership ends if you or your partner passes away, marries or applies to the Registry of Births, Death and Marriages to end the partnership.

How do I deal with property disputes after our de facto relationship ended?

In Australia (except Western Australia), if your de facto relationship ended on or after 1 March 2009, you may be able to apply for a property settlement under the Family Law Act if:

  • you lived together as a couple for at least 2 years
  • there is a child from the relationship
  • you or your ex-partner made substantial contributions (financial or otherwise) to the relationship

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