DOOLAN WAGNER - family lawyers sydney

De Facto Relationship Lawyers Sydney


As the way we live continues to evolve, so does the law. And if you are separating from your de facto partner, making yourself aware of your rights during this time is crucial. Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers is a professional and compassionate Family Law firm that can help you navigate your de facto separation.

Our team of de facto lawyers is experienced and committed to protecting your rights while providing practical and specialised advice. Your best interests are our top priority. Learn more about how we can assist you during this emotional time by getting in touch with one of our de facto relationship lawyers in Sydney today.


Tailored legal advice from a leading Sydney law firm

A de facto relationship is defined under Section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975 as ‘you and your partner, who may be of the same or opposite sex, having a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.’

As of March 1, 2009, de facto couples are treated the same way as married couples with the same rights and obligations. This means should the de facto relationship end, the division of property and assets, child custody and other matters are now heard in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court.


For any separation, whether the two parties are married or in a de facto relationship, the Court highly encourages couples to resolve any disputes or issues amongst themselves to avoid a costly and stressful litigation process and minimise the Court’s involvement. While there are some cases where a couple can amicably agree and resolve problems, this is not a regular occurrence.

With the help of an experienced de facto lawyer from Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers, we can help you and your partner come to a fair and reasonable resolution regarding how your assets will be divided, who will take primary responsibility for children (if any are involved) and other issues you may be dealing with.

We understand better than most the factors the Family Law Court considers when managing a de facto relationship breakdown and can advise you accordingly to ensure your needs are met. Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers’ team of de facto relationship lawyers can also help you with any necessary documents pertaining to your separation, such as reviewing mortgage documents.


While de facto relationships are treated similarly to a married couple, without a Marriage Certificate, the breakdown of a de facto relationship can bring on its own set of challenges. In some cases where financial orders are required, the Court may question the relationship’s legitimacy before deciding.

As this can be a highly emotional time, it’s recommended that you seek the expert guidance of a de facto lawyer who can help you confidently move on. Here’s how we can help:

  • Qualified guidance and counsel — Fortunately, most of us don’t clearly understand what separating from your partner involves in Australia. Unfortunately, this can place you in a vulnerable position should you need to separate from your de facto partner. Our de facto relationship lawyers regularly deal with these matters and can equip you with unmatched knowledge to put you in the best position.
  • 1:1 support — With Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers, you’re more than just a client. We understand how important it is to feel heard and understood during this time, which is why we are committed to ensuring you receive the best support possible.
  • Ease the emotional toll — The decision to separate from your partner is not made lightly and can have a massive impact on your mental and emotional well-being. By hiring a de facto lawyer to manage your case and legal obligations, you can focus on healing during this new life transition.
  • Court representation — Although our team will do everything in their power to keep your matter out of court, our de facto lawyers can represent you and your interests during litigation and will act with the highest compassion and professionalism.

How does the Court determine de facto relationships?

If you and your partner cannot reach an amicable agreement regarding your finances or other aspects of your relationship, it will be left up to the Court to decide. Please note that any application for a de facto financial order must be made within two years of the breakdown of your relationship.

When determining whether a de facto relationship existed, the Court may consider the following factors:

  • The financial responsibilities and contributions — This refers to the degree of financial responsibility and independence you and your partner had during the relationship. For instance, whose name was listed on mortgage or lease agreements, if one party has been nominated as the beneficiary of a Will, if there are joint bank accounts and more.
  • The nature of the relationship — This may refer to how you and your partner perceive the relationship and whether they believe strong emotional ties and companionship were present before the breakdown.
  • How the couple presented themselves in public — Some indicators for consideration are whether you or your partner presented your relationship to others as friends or a de facto couple, shared holiday plans, or corrected individuals who initially perceived them as friends.
  • Whether a sexual relationship was present — While the presence of a sexual relationship does not inherently prove two parties were in a de facto relationship, it can be used to establish the existence of a relationship involving sexual intimacy.

Commencing proceedings — how to make a Court application

If you have obtained legal counsel from one of our Sydney de facto lawyers, we can also help you apply to the Court. These are the same forms used by married couples seeking a divorce, submitted via the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers — respected de facto lawyers in Sydney

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers is a highly trusted and respected Sydney firm with extensive experience practising Family Law. Our compassionate and professional team can guide you through your de facto separation and provide professional counsel that protects you and your family. Have one of our Sydney de facto lawyers look after your case today.

Find out how our de facto relationship lawyers can help you

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