About De Facto Relationship Law
What is a de facto relationship?
In the past, what constitutes a de facto relationship, and the legal implications which arise as a result of being involved in a de facto relationship, have been widely defined and have varied between states and territories within Australia. However, most definitions include that a de facto relationship is a relationship between:
- two adults (over the age of 18 years);
- who are not legally married to each other; and
- are not related by family; and
- having regard to all the circumstances of their relationship, they have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.
The law that currently applies to de facto relationships has largely rectified these past inconsistencies in the law. Under the current law, certain persons leaving an unsuccessful de facto relationship can pursue property settlements in much the same way as married couples who have separated, relying on the same law and using the same court systems (excluding Western Australia). This includes same sex de facto couples.
Infographic: de facto relationships vs marriage
The below infographic highlights the differences between de facto relationships and marriage. Click the image to open a full-size version.