Your relationship with your partner has to be confirmed before a parenting order can be considered.

The Family Law Act 1975 now handles de facto relationships. This is due to changes in the law when all states and territories, except Western Australia, agreed to the federal law when handling division of property issues between all types of partners. Same sex relationships get the same treatment, too.

When a de facto couple separates, if the two parties are unable to come to an agreement regarding the parenting of children, it will be necessary to submit a parenting order application to the Federal Circuit Court (Federal Magistrates Court) or Family Court.

There are certain people who can apply for a parenting order and these include:

  • the child or children;
  • a grandparent;
  • another person who could be responsible for the welfare and care of the child.

The Family Law Act 1975 has strict adherence to what is considered to be in the best interests of the child. The decision is made at a court hearing. Section 64B, Section 60CC, Section 60CA of the 1975 Family Law Act details how the decision is made.

When it comes to handling a de facto relationship under the Family Law Act you are considered to be in a de facto relationship with someone else if no marriage has taken place, the person who is your de facto partner is not related to you and you are sharing your life together on a domestic basis which is genuine.

Your relationship with your partner has to be confirmed before a parenting order can be considered. This includes confirmation of:

  • the length of the relationship;
  • the situation in the common residence;
  • the existence of a sexual relationship;
  • how you have supported each other financially ;
  • who owns the property that is used;
  • how committed you are to a shared life;
  • if the relationship had been registered in a state;
  • how the support and care of children had taken place;
  • how other people viewed the relationship.

You may have to prove that you have resided together for no less than 2 years unless a child is present. To achieve a de facto status no formal ceremony is necessary but certain criteria have to be met.

Additionally, the party in the de facto relationship who files an application for a parenting order or declaration must have made considerable contributions to the child’s upbringing and if he or she did not file the order then it would be an injustice to the person.

This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice.

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