You and your partner are considered to be in a de facto partner relationship if you are not legally married to each other, are committed to sharing a life together to the exclusion of others, you live together “on a genuine domestic basis” and are not related by family. Your relationship can be with someone of the same or opposite sex.

In July 2010, the laws changed in South Australia which gave de facto parties the same rights as married couples under the Family Law Act, with respect to a property settlement.

It is important to understand what a de facto relationship is and how your relationship could fall within the jurisdiction of the Family Court (or Federal Circuit Court) as it could be considered a de facto relationship.

In determining whether the couple is living together on “a genuine domestic basis” the Court will consider the circumstances of the relationship of the parties and this will include:

  1. The duration of their relationship;
  2. The nature and extent of their common residence;
  3. Whether a sexual relationship exists;
  4. The degree of financial dependence or independence, and any arrangements for financial support, between them;
  5. The ownership, use and acquisition of their property;
  6. Their degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  7. Whether the relationship has been registered, in a state or territory with laws for the registration of relationships;
  8. The care and support of the children; and
  9. The reputation and public aspects of their relationship.

It is important to note that an application for the division of property must be made within two years after the end of the relationship unless the court, after considering the interests of both de facto partners, is satisfied that an extension of this period of limitation is necessary to avoid serious injustice.

If you are undergoing a separation from your de facto partner, legal advice is recommended, particularly in the case where a property settlement may need to occur, or arrangements need to be made for children. To make a time for a no obligation discussion with one of our family lawyers, call 8113 3111 or email admin@adelaidefamilylaw.com.au.