Family Law

De Facto Relationships

Understand your rights in a de facto relationship

Right across Australia, couples in de facto relationships (including same sex couples) have similar rights and obligations to those who are married. This means in many cases, if you choose to end the relationship, the same rules apply as for any separation or divorce.

A de facto relationship is defined as a couple who are not married and not related to one another, who live together as a couple in a domestic situation. They have the same financial responsibilities to one another that they would have if they were legally married, and disputes over finances, property or children will be treated in the same way as for a married couple.

Ending a de facto relationship

If you decide to end a de facto relationship, you will need to go through the same separation process that a married couple must go through. If any disputes arise and the matter is taken to court, the court will look at:

  • How long you have been together in a relationship
  • Your common residence and whether the relationship is a sexual one
  • Any property ownership or shared finances
  • Whether you have any children together
  • Whether the relationship has been registered under state law

If you think you need a parenting order or maintenance order to settle any disputes, the process will be the same as if you were married. To receive tailored advice and find out your options, speak to an experienced Family Lawyer.

Understand your rights

Find out more about de facto relationships by calling (02) 8843 1343 or send a message via our contact page.