Under the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) a person is considered to be in a de facto relationship if the couple are living together in a marriage-like relationship yet are not legally married to each other and are not related by family.
In a break up, de facto couples (including same sex couples) have the same rights as married couples except for the splitting of superannuation assets.
In Western Australia, a de facto relationship is a marriage-like relationship between two people for a minimum period of two years.
A different definition of a de facto relationship applies in other jurisdictions in Australia.
It can be difficult to determine precisely when you are in a de facto relationship.
The following factors are indicators of whether or not a de facto relationship exists:
Yes. Under the Interpretation Act 1984 (WA) and the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) a de facto relationship is any relationship (other than a legal marriage) between two people who live together in a marriage-like relationship, including same sex couples.
Yes. The Family Court Act 1997 (WA) recognises that a person can be in several de facto relationships at the same time.
Yes. The Family Court Act 1997 (WA) recognises that it is possible for someone who is married to be in a de facto relationship with someone else at the same time.
The Family Court may only make an order if it is satisfied that:
Yes. The Family Court Act 1997 (WA) gives legal rights to those in de facto relationships including disputes regarding children, property settlements and financial maintenance.
De facto couples can access the same range of remedies in the Family Court as those available to married couples.
The only exception is superannuation. While superannuation can be included in the property pool and therefore divided up for married couples, it is treated as a financial resource for de facto couples.
Yes. You can enter into a financial agreement (also colloquially known as a “prenup”). This is an option available for both married couples (and couples intending to marry) or those who are contemplating living together in a de facto relationship.
A financial agreement is a private agreement which is not sanctioned by the Family Court, which can be entered into before, during, or after a marriage or de facto relationship.
Lavan’s Family Law team can advise on steps to take before or during a de facto relationship to prevent future arguments in the event the relationship breaks down.
We also assist parties following the breakdown of a de facto relationship in negotiating a property settlement, making proper arrangements for the children of the relationship and representing parties in the Family Court if necessary.