De facto relationships

Advice and support for your de facto relationship breakdown.


De facto Relationships
Advice and support for your de facto relationship breakdown.

Has your de facto relationship come to an end?

The breakdown of a de facto relationship is a very difficult and emotional time, which can be made easier with the assistance and advice of a Perth family lawyer.

At Richardson Legal, we specialise in working with de facto relationships and are here to help you understand your rights and obligations through your de facto relationship separation.

Have peace of mind knowing we’ll take the time to understand your unique situation and guide you carefully and compassionately through the de facto relationship separation process.

What is a de facto relationship?

In Western Australia, a de facto relationship is when two people (regardless of whether they are heterosexual or same sex) live together in a marriage like relationship. 

While parties have to ‘live together’ to be in a de facto relationship, a couple does not need to be residing together on a full-time basis. 

How is a de facto relationship defined?

In Western Australia de facto relationships are covered in the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) .

The Family Court will look at a number of factors to decide if you were in a de facto relationship.

Considerations include:

Do de facto couples have any entitlements?

Yes. You may be surprised to learn that in Australia, de facto couples have almost all the same rights as married couples, whether the partners are heterosexual or same-sex.

The Family Court of WA can make a property settlement if:

  • the de facto relationship was for at least two years, or
  • the de facto relationship was shorter than two years, but you have a child under 18 years together and if the Court failed to make property orders it would result in a serious injustice to the person caring for the child, or
  • the de facto relationship was shorter than two years, but the person asking for a property settlement has made significant financial contributions and if the Court did not make property orders this would result in a serious injustice.

From 28 September 2022, de facto couples in Western Australia who separate can split their superannuation interests as part of a family law property settlement.

The legislation applies to couples who separated before the it came into effect but did not obtain property settlement orders at the time. It also applies to matters which are still before the Family Court of Western Australia.

It is important to note that you must make any claims within 2 years of the end of a de facto relationship. After this time, you need to seek permission from the Court to be able to ask for a property settlement and leave is not always granted.

If you are seeking support and advice in relation to the end of your de facto relationship, we are here to help.