In Australia today, those who are in a de facto relationship have identical financial responsibilities to the other partner in the same way as marriage partners. If you live in a relationship that is de facto, disputes over children or property will get the same treatment by law as for married couples.
De facto couples end their relationships by separating in the same way as married couples. They do not need a separation declaration or any legal document to end the union. The fact of separation is no different to that of a married couple and like a married couple you can be separated even if you continue to live under the one roof.
In 2009, the Federal Government of Australia changed family law so that de facto relationships have just about the same rights and obligations as married couples. Under the Family Law Act, a couple who are not married but are living in a de facto relationship which is genuine and they share a common residence and all the things that take place in the residence and are what you would expect from a mutual relationship can be considered to be in a de facto relationship. This includes:
If you are in a de facto relationship and this relationship ends you don’t have to formally register its termination but any disputes over children or property will be treated in the same way by law as if you are a married couple.
There are time restrictions in relation to Family Law Act provisions that are only relevant to a party in a de facto relationship when applying for property adjustments and maintenance orders. These are for a de facto relationship that has lasted for two years in total or more. There also has to be a common child or one or both of the parties to the relationship has made a substantial contribution to such an extent that the Family Law Act should apply.
When filing a property settlement or maintenance issue an application to the court is subject to time limitations too and this has to take place within two years of the ending of the relationship. When that time has been reached an application for a property settlement may only be filed with the agreement of the parties or by gaining permission from the Family Court.