After separation sometimes it can be difficult to know if you were in a de facto relationship with your former partner and to know what your entitlements are after separation, when you’re not married.
What is a de facto relationship?
The Family Law Act defines a de facto relationship as a couple who are:
- Not legally married;
- Not related by family; and
- Living together in a relationship as a couple.
A de facto relationship under the Family Law Act can be between 2 people of the different genders, or 2 people of the same gender.
A de facto relationship can also exist even if one person is still legally married.
When considering whether two people are in a de facto relationship the court may consider things like:
- The length of the relationship
- The circumstances of their common residence (e.g. how long they have lived together)
- Whether a sexual relationship exists
- Financial dependence on each other
- How the people own their property (e.g. together or separately)
- Care and support of children
- Reputation and whether the relationship is publically known.
If you have separated from your partner and are unsure as to whether your relationship falls under the definition of a ‘de facto relationship’ we recommend you seek legal advice to ensure you are aware of your entitlements after separation.
 Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) s 4AA.
This article was co-authored by Law Cadet Taylah Jensen.
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