De facto relationships is one in which two people who are not legally married to one another act as if they are indeed married, and it is relationship which has specific laws which apply to it if that couple separate and this is why family lawyers who specialise in divorce play an important role part in the separation of de facto couples.
What Is A De Facto Relationship?
In Australia a de facto relationship, especially, is when two people live together and behave like a married couple despite not being legally married to one another. These two people can be either opposite or same-sex and can live together on a “genuine domestic basis.”
If, in fact, two partners are living on a “genuine domestic basis” and perceived as a de facto couple, then if their separation becomes a matter for the court it may look into information such as:
- The duration of a relationship
- The existence of a sexual relationship
- Common residence nature an extent
- A property’s ownership, acquisition, and use
- The extent of financial interdependence or dependence and financial support arrangements
- To see whether a relationship is or had been registered under a state/territory’s prescribed law
- Caring and supporting children to the couple’s relationship
- The extent of the intended party’s’ mutual commitment to a shared life
- The relationship’s public aspects and reputation
De Facto Relationship Registration
In most cases, a de facto relationship can be registered via a state’s Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. This offers the intended couple a certificate as proof of a de facto relationship’s existence and how long the couple has been together. As a result, a registered couple can also create property division rights, despite not having lived with each other for two years.
A De Facto Relationship’s Breakdown
Following separation, the steps required for the division of assets of affected couples are the same as for married couples. However, various requirements must be met for a relationship to be termed as ‘de facto.’
Compared to married couples, de facto partners cannot apply for a divorce when the relationship starts to break down. However, the property and future childcare support division might be finalised by agreement, following legal advisor assistance or via Family Court proceedings.
Upon the breakdown of a de facto couple’s relationship, there are three ways in which the two partners can divide property between them:
- Through agreement without the involvement of the court
- By a formalised agreement from the court via an application for consent orders
- Applying for orders to the court
The courts may be able to make a division order for properties that they either own together or separately. They could even order any superannuation split or have one party pay for spousal maintenance.
The Right to Court Orders
Suppose you’re in a de facto relationship and live anywhere in Western Australia. In that case, they will need to apply to the Family Court of Western Australia to have issues regarding property or children resolved.
In other states or territories in Australia, the applicants will need to apply to either the Federal Circuit court or the Family Court. Doing so means that a de facto couple’s family law matters will be determined in the same vein as a married couple.