More and more of us are now choosing to enter into or stay in long-term relationships without getting married. As the popularity of de facto relationships in Australia continues to grow, the meaning of what constitutes a “de facto relationship” in our country has broadened significantly in recent years, including recognising same-sex couples as de facto couples in property settlements.
Since 1 March 2009 de facto couples are now treated in the same way as married couples for the purposes of a division of their property after a separation and their matters are now heard in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court. In brief:
1. De facto relationship are growing in popularity;
2. More relationships in Australia are now considered to be “de facto relationships” by definition; and
3. Couples separating after a de facto relationship are now treated for all intent and purposes in the same way as married couples.
What does this mean for you if you are contemplating either entering into a de facto relationship or are looking to separate after having been in a de facto relationship?
In combination, these three things mean that when a de facto relationship breaks down there will often be a more intense focus on the de facto relationship itself … And therefore as your de facto relationship ends you may be facing an ex-partner who denies that the relationship even existed or disputes that it lasted for as long as it did. On the flip side you may have enjoyed what you regarded as a brief casual relationship and now cannot believe that you are facing a claim for a financial settlement.
How we can help
Our experienced family lawyers can help you if you are grappling with these problems. We deal every day with questions about the eligibility of de facto relationships under the Family Law Act.
We understand that without a Marriage Certificate, the breakdown of a de facto relationship can pose additional challenges. And, we also understand that at times proving or disproving the very existence of a de facto relationship can be fraught.
We are here to help you if your de facto relationship breaks down. We have expertise in understanding how the Court’s “checklist” of relevant factors applies to your particular circumstances. Some of the factors that matter include:
- The nature and extent of a common residence;
- The degree of financial dependence or interdependence that you had;
- The ownership, use and acquisition of property;
- The care and support of children;
- The performance of household duties;
- The reputation and public aspects of your relationship; and
- Whether or not a sexual relationship existed.
You may be trying to make sense of all of it yourself. This can be hard.
Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are trusted family lawyers, expertly placed to help you with your de facto relationship matter.