Reading time: 3 minutes

When a relationship comes to an end, working out who gets what can be tricky. If you were in a de-facto relationship, you might be concerned about certain property rights, as well as what happens to any children you have once you have separated from your partner. Under the Family Law Act, all de-facto couples have the same rights as married couples when it comes to considering property settlements. Same-sex couples are also included in the definition of de-facto couples under the Act.

Do the laws apply to me?

With de-facto relationships, there are certain criteria your relationship will need to meet to under the Act to be able to apply for a property settlement. These include:

  • whether your relationship lasted for at least two years in total;
  • whether you have any children with your de-facto partner;
  • whether you have made a substantial contribution to the property or finances of your partner;
  • whether you registered the relationship in a State or Territory; and
  • that you need to have lived at least 1/3 of your relationship in a State or Territory where the laws apply. This is currently true for all Australian states and territories except for Western Australia, although they do have similar laws.

The court will also consider that you must have been living together on a genuine domestic basis and whether you have a sexual relationship. You can also be in a de facto relationship even if you or your partner are legally married to someone else or are in a de-facto relationship with someone else. You can bring an application for property settlement within two years of your relationship ending.

How do we separate property?

You can come to an agreement with your partner about how to distribute your property without needing to go to Court. You can then register your agreement with the Court, and the Court makes what is called Consent Orders. Once you have both agreed to these, and they have been registered, you can’t change your mind later. You could also enter into a Binding Financial Agreement where you can agree on how you will manage your separation.

If you do not have an agreement in place and can’t negotiate together for whatever reason, the Court will step in to ensure a fair outcome. They will consider what each of you owned before the relationship, your current assets and the contributions you both made over the period of the relationship. This will include financial contributions like wages or improvements to your house, gifts, inheritances and payment of household bills.

They will also look at your non-financial contributions, which can be things like cleaning the house, looking after the children and cooking for the family. Once they have assessed these aspects, they will look at your future needs, such as income, how you will care for any children and any other financial resources you have available to you. The Court will then decide how it will split everything and make orders to that effect.

LegalVision cannot provide legal assistance with this topic. We recommend you contact your local law society.


Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards