De Facto Relationships

We regularly advise and act for people who are, or have been in de facto relationships. We support them in pre-separation advice, post-separation advice and also people embarking on second or new relationships which may become de facto relationships in the future.

De Facto Relationships

De Facto Relationships Defined

A de facto relationship is a relationship between two people, regardless of gender who are not married and not related, and live together on a ‘genuine domestic basis’. 

The term ‘genuine domestic basis’ is from the Family Law Act and it is the overarching basis for determining if you are or have been in a de facto relationship.

Some of the indicators considered when determining if you are or have been living together on a ‘genuine domestic basis’ are: 

  • Whether there is/has been a mutual intention to share a life together;
  • How long you have been in a common residence;
  • Whether you are/have had a sexual relationship; or
  • Whether there is any financial dependence, interdependence or support.

If you are in a de facto relationship, or embarking on a second relationship and wish to put in place a financial agreement to have clarity as to what will happen to your property if the relationship breaks down, consult our page, Prenuptial and Financial Agreements.

Common Questions about De Facto Relationships

In our work as family lawyers, we see that people who plan their separation and talk about how they want to separate, are more likely to have an amicable separation. It is important to bear in mind that if one person has initiated the separation, it may take the other person a little longer to get their head around things. Being conscious that you might be at different stages of the process mentally can help avoid issues arising purely out of lack of communication.

The key element to effectively work together to plan your life apart is to always come back to the primary goal – to not lose sight of yourself or your children as you go through the separation and divorce process.

Read more about how to end a de facto relationship positively

If your de facto relationship has broken down it is important to have a sense as to what you may be entitled to (or need) on both a short-term basis and longer-term. For example, sometimes people we assist have very limited information about their own financial position. This may occur, for example, in a situation where a client has primarily been a homemaker or parent and the other party has been primarily responsible for looking after finances or they keep the financial information separate.

In this scenario it is important to consider what documents may be in existence and what documents you may be entitled to receive so that you can consider your financial position and the financial position of your former partner, which will then allow you to make an informed decision about the approach you wish to take to your matter. This is often a key step in a financial matter and is commonly referred to as the process of exchanging financial disclosure.

There are also some common misconceptions about de facto separation entitlements.

Read more about de facto financial settlement entitlements

Learn about financial separation and property settlements here

De Facto Relationships

De Facto Separation Agreement

In the event of a separation, parties to a de facto relationship are entitled to pursue a property settlement and spousal maintenance determined in the Family Court, just like married couples. The Family Law Act makes special provision for the adjustment of property and financial support in very much the same way.

As with marriages, there are time limits for a financial separation. Specific to de facto relationships, any Court application must be made within two years from the date of separation. Time is usually of the essence, and we encourage clients to consult us as soon as possible after a separation in order to best evaluate your circumstances.

For more detailed information about financial separation and property settlements, please consult our Property Settlements page.

If you have children together, consult our Parenting Arrangements page.

De Facto Relationships

De Facto Relationship Separation Advice & Agreements

In the event of a de facto relationship separation, people can make agreements about what happens in the event their relationship ends. Our family lawyers regularly assist people seeking advice prior to, or during a de facto relationship as to their financial arrangements.

Pre and Post Separation
De Facto Lawyers Brisbane

We regularly assist people considering separation and already separated, who want their questions answered so they can consider their options and make informed decisions.