In Australian society today, there is an increasing number of people living in what would be legally considered to be a de facto / domestic relationship known as a “de facto relationship”. Why is it important to determine? Many de facto relationships in Australia have the same legal rights as married couples.
Often people are unaware that they are living in a de facto relationship – which can include both same-sex and heterosexual relationships – and determining whether or not a person is in a de facto relationship can be a complicated legal question. Some factors that may be taken into account in determining whether a couple is in a de facto relationship for Australian family law purposes include:
The Australian family law case law has even recognised a de facto relationship’s existence where one of the parties to such a relationship may be still married to and indeed also living with another party.
Many people are also unaware that under the current Australian legislative framework, the majority of people in de facto relationships will have the same legal rights and obligations as those attaching to married couples. That can include having legal rights concerning:
Whether a person is contemplating entering into a de facto relationship or separating from their de facto partner (or at any point in between), it is important that they are aware of their legal rights and obligations which can also vary between Australian States. With the benefit of such advice, a person may be able to protect themselves from a subsequent spousal maintenance or property division claim against them by a de facto partner, should the de facto relationship subsequently end in separation.
Our experienced Family and Relationship Law Team at Gadens is able to advise and represent persons in respect of all matters arising from de facto relationships.
Siobhan McGee, Lawyer