We were in a de facto relationship – Can we still apply to the Court for property Orders?

The simple answer is “Yes”. The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) contains similar provisions that apply to both married and de facto couples.

What constitutes a de facto relationship? A de facto relationship exists where a couple who are not married or related has been living together on a “genuine domestic basis” and they have either:

  • been living together for at least 2 years; or
  • there is a child of the relationship; or
  • a party to a defacto relationship made substantial contributions and a failure to make an order or a declaration would result in a serious injustice to that party.

As to whether a defacto relationship exists any of the following can be relevant:-

  • 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 a prescribed law of a State or Territory as a prescribed kind of relationship;
  • the care and support of children;
  • the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

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