According to Australian law, you are in a de-facto relationship with another person if you are not legally married to each other and you have a relationship as a couple, living together on a genuine domestic basis.
In Western Australia, the Family Court of Western Australia determines property settlement proceedings, child related proceedings and child support proceedings arising from De-Facto relationships.
To determine whether a de-facto relationship exists, the Court considers a range of factors such as:
- the length of the relationship between the parties.
- the nature and extent of their common residence.
- the degree of financial dependence or interdependence.
- the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life.
- the ownership, use and purchase of property by them.
- whether they have a child of the relationship, or whether they support any children.
An application for property settlement for de-facto couples must be brought within 2 years from the date of separation. If separation occurred more than 2 years ago, leave must be sought from the Family Court to commence proceedings out of time, and the Family Court has discretion to grant, or refuse, leave depending on a number of factors which must be addressed.
In relation to child related matters, parties who have separated from a de-facto relationship are able to access the Family Court of Western Australia for children’s matters, regardless of the date of separation.
Please contact us to arrange an appointment to discuss legal issues arising from your de-facto relationship.