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De Facto Relationships

The Family Law Act, 1975 recognises relationships between non-married couples, known legally as De Facto relationships

The Family Law Act defines a De Facto relationship as is a relationship between:

  • two adults over the age of 18;
  • two adults who are not legally married to each other;
  • two adults who are not related by family; and
  • two adults who have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

The Family Law Act provides that in the event of an irretrievable break down in a de facto relationship, one or both of the parties can pursue a property or financial settlement in the same way as a married couple can. The Family Law Act also provides for De Facto couples to apply for parenting orders in the Family Court.

If agreement is reached between De Facto relationship couples, there may be no need to commence Family Court proceedings. De facto relationship couples who reach agreement about parenting, property and financial issues upon relationship breakdown, can opt for recording their agreements by Consent Orders filed with the Family Court. In some circumstances they can record their agreements in legally binding documents such as Binding Financial Agreements (BFA) also known as termination agreements, when filed at the breakdown of the relationship.

BFA’s can also be prepared at the commencement of the relationship, or during the relationship for those who wish to keep control of their individual assets. These agreements are also referred to as Pre-nuptial or “pre-nup” agreement.

The legal implications of de facto relationships, including those involving children, can be significant. It is critical to be properly informed about the legal implications.

For more information and legal advice, call 1300 885 289 to make an appointment with Rossana