De Facto Relationships FAQ

May 25, 2016 – at 4:04 am – by Bodekers Family Lawyers

What is a de facto relationship?

In Western Australia, a de facto relationship is a relationship where two people who are not married to each other live together in a “marriage-like” relationship.

What does the Family Court consider when deciding if a de facto relationship existed?

The Family Court may consider factors such as:

  1. The length of the relationship;
  2. Whether you lived together and for how long;
  3. The nature and extent of any common residences;
  4. Whether there was a sexual relationship;
  5. The extent of any financial dependence or interdependence, or any arrangements for financial support;
  6. The ownership, use and acquisition of their property (including property owned individually);
  7. The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  8. Whether you cared for or supported children; and
  9. The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

The above are not essential requirements but rather indicators or relevant considerations as to whether or not a de facto relationship exists (or existed) 

Can the Family Court make property settlement orders in de facto relationships?

Yes. The Family Court can make decisions about property settlement and spousal maintenance for de facto couples.

Is there a time limit for de facto property settlement?

You need to commence any application for property settlement or spousal maintenance within 2 years of the date of separation. After this time, you will need to seek special permission from the Court to make an application.

Why is the date we began living together and the date we separated important?

While in a marriage it may be obvious to determine when a marriage begins and ends by virtue of marriage and divorce certificates, determining the commencement and end dates of a de facto relationship may be substantially more difficult. As indicated above, time limits apply which are based around the date of separation. Similarly, the length of the relationship is also necessary to consider. 

Can same sex relationships be considered de facto relationships?

Yes. In Western Australia, de facto relationships include same sex relationships.

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