The Family Law Act was amended in 2008 to give de facto couples - whether same-sex attracted or not - access to the same property and maintenance regime as previously only enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. This was a major milestone in the development of a fair and equitable family law regime. At least in terms of how your property was dealt with, the law finally recognised that it didn’t matter whether you were married or not.
There is however the question of proof. The one good thing a marriage certificate does is prove to the world that you are or were married. Some de facto couples chose to register their relationship with the relevant state authority. In the absence of de facto certification however, you will need to prove that you are in fact de facto. You can do this by establishing one of the following factors: you have been together for more than two years, or there is a child of the relationship, or you have made substantial financial contributions or it would result in an injustice being done if no Order was made, or the relationship was registered under State or Territory law.
Property and children’s matters are resolved by way of Consent Orders or Binding Financial Agreements in the same way as for married couples.
TIP: A critical distinction between those couples who have been married and those who have not - in terms of property settlement - is the time period you have to resolve property matters. If you are de facto, you only have two years from the date of separation, otherwise you will need to apply to the court for special permission.For married couples, the clock starts ticking at divorce, not separation.
We welcome all couples, married or not, gay, straight or indifferent, and would be happy to help you resolve your property or parenting matters.
Start the process with a Contact us by phone or email today.