De Facto Relationships

A de facto relationship is one in which the people are not legally married to one other but live together on a genuine domestic basis.

The Family Court will consider several factors to determine the existence of a de facto relationship. These include:

  1. The duration of the relationship;
  2. Whether the parties live together in the same house;
  3. If there is sexual intimacy;
  4. Whether they share their finances;
  5. Whether they buy, own, and use property jointly;
  6. Mutual commitment to a shared life;
  7. Whether the relationship is registered;
  8. If there are children of the relationship;
  9. Whether they are publicly known as a couple.


You have two years after breaking up to apply for a property settlement but you should consider doing this as early as possible. You cannot usually apply after this timeframe has expired without the court’s permission.

You do not have a time limit to apply for parenting orders if there are any children of the relationship. You should seek legal advice as soon as possible if the children are living with the other parent.

Our lawyers are always available to help guide you through the legal process of ending a de facto relationship with both compassion and integrity. We will advise you on all important matters and help you connect with any counselling services you may require.