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De Facto Separation


Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100

Amelia Trotman

Separation is the term used to describe the end of a de facto relationship. There is no ability to register a separation in Queensland (or Australia), but the date of separation in a de facto relationship can be significant for two reasons:

  • Length of relationship - if a de facto relationship was less than two years in duration, there may be no jurisdiction under the Family Law Act (1975) (Cth) to make an application for property settlement or maintenance.
  • Limitation date - parties who were in a de facto relationship have a period of two years from the date of separation in which to file an application for property and/or financial matters in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court.

It is therefore important to have proof of the date of separation. We recommend that you communicate the separation to your former de facto partner in writing, either by text message or email. You may also consider updating your relationship status on social media, with Centrelink and the ATO.

JURISDICTION FOR DE FACTOS FOR PROPERTY SETTLEMENT

In order to be able to apply for property settlement and/or spouse maintenance, a party to a de facto relationship must be able to show:

  • That a de facto relationship existed; and
  • That the relationship was more than two years duration; or
  • That there is a child of the relationship; or
  • That the party making the application made substantial contributions to property and failure to make an order would result in a serious injustice to them.

The definition of a de facto relationship is two people who are not married, but are living together on a genuine domestic basis. Factors that the Court will consider when determining whether a de facto relationship existed include:

  • Whether the parties shared a home;
  • Whether the parties were in a sexual relationship;
  • Whether the parties were in relationships with any other person at the time of the alleged de facto relationship;
  • Whether the parties owned property together;
  • The extent to which the parties finances were intertwined;
  • The public aspects of the relationship, ie, did family and friends consider the parties to be in a relationship;
  • The care and support provided to any children of either of the parties;
  • Whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State/Territory;

It is possible, under the Act, for a person to be in more than one de facto relationship at the same time, or for a married person to be in a de facto relationship.



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It is our aim to alleviate as much of the stress and uncertainty from our clients as possible. We do this by providing you with the information you need to understand the process and the family law system so that you feel calm and confident knowing the likely outcomes and how we will achieve the best outcome for you and your family.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100

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