Defacto Relationships

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Defacto Relationships

Defacto relationships are dealt with in the same manner as married ones when it comes to property settlements at the breakdown of a relationship.

The property and assets will be divided by the Courts in the manner following the  Family Law Act 1975. In other words, when a defacto couple comes before the courts to have entitlements to the property determined, the court does not differ between married and defacto relationships.

How does the Court define a ‘defacto relationship’?

Defacto relationships are defined by The Family Law Act 1975 section 4AA, as being two people who are not legally married to each other and have a relationship as a couple living other on a genuine domestic basis.

How long does someone have to live with their partner before it is considered “defacto”?

Generally a defacto relationship has to have continued for at least 2 years for their property settlement to be subject to the Family Courts.

Can a defacto relationship occur if one party is also married?

Even when one party to a defacto relationship is married, they can still be legally understood to also be in a defacto relationship. Similarly a person can be in multiple defacto relationships at the same time.

Defacto Relationship FAQs

A de facto relationship is defined by "The Family Law Act 1975" section 4AA as two individuals who are not legally married but are living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. When it comes to property settlements, the law treats de facto relationships similarly to marriages.

Typically, a de facto relationship must have persisted for at least 2 years for its property settlement to fall under the jurisdiction of the Family Courts.

In a de facto relationship property dispute, the term 'property' encompasses a wide range of assets and liabilities, including:

  • Real estate, whether used for residence or investment
  • Financial resources, such as bank savings or collectibles
  • Motor vehicles
  • Household items and personal effects
  • Superannuation
  • Shares
  • Interests in partnerships
  • Trust assets
  • Long service leave entitlements
  • And other assets

At Movement Legal, our experienced family lawyers can help you identify, value, negotiate, and represent your interests in court, if necessary.

Superannuation can be part of a de facto property settlement, but the process can be intricate. The court may order one party to transfer a portion of their superannuation to the other party or specify a particular division method. Importantly, superannuation can only be included if it's considered property. If it's held in a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), additional considerations may apply.

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Our lawyers are family law specialists, and deal with these and related legal issues daily.

We can help you with any aspect of family law - including advice around divorce and separation, child custody, property and financial arrangements, financial agreements, and more.

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We will come back to you promptly with clear directions as to how we can help you and your matter. We prioritise communication with our clients to bring maximum efficiency into play.

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