Divorce & Separation

De Facto Relationships: Are you in one?

De Facto Relationships: Are you in one?

De Facto Relationships: Are you in one?

Author: Lara Wentworth, Partner & Head of Family Law

Are you in a de facto relationship? If you answered no, the question I have for you is, are you sure?

A de facto status refers to two people in a relationship and begins with merely the act of two people living together for a period of at least two years.

What is taken into consideration when determining a de facto relationship, you might ask. The Court will explore the following:


  •  The duration of the relationship;
  •  The nature and extent of their common residence;
  •  Whether a sexual relationship exists;
  •  The degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between them;
  •  The ownership, use and acquisition of their property;
  •  The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  •  Whether the relationship is or was registered under the prescribed law of the State or Territory as a prescribed kind of  relationship;
  •  The care and support of children; and
  •  The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.


Same sex de facto?

What about same sex couples? Pursuant to section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975 a de facto relationship can occur between two people of the same sex. The Court will consider the same criteria outlined above when determining a same sex de facto relationship.


Marriage vs De Facto – are their rights the same?

Changes to the make-up of the modern household has shifted how the law view spousal relationships. Today, de facto couples are entitled to the same rights as married couples and Australian law deals with separation of the two relationships the same way, considering the division of property, assets, superannuation and spousal maintenance.


Visa applications

A de facto relationship might be considered when applying for an Australian partner visa, just like with marriage. In this instance, a de facto relationship only needs to have existed for 12 months. For temporary visas, it is possible to apply with less time together as a couple.


De facto love triangle

In a situation where a person is married and is also in a relationship with another person at the same time, they are considered to be in two relationships: married and de facto.


Our experienced family Lawyers at Veritas Law Firm can assist you in understanding a de facto relationship more extensively. If you or someone you know is nearing a break up and may be at risk of splitting their property, assets, super and potentially more, you should seek legal advice. Contact our office today on 131 LAW (529) or email us at enquiries@veritaslawfirm.co



Veritas Law Firm produced this article. It is intended to provide general information in summary form on legal topics, current at the time of first publication.  The contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular matters.