A de facto relationship is defined in s 13A of the
Interpretation Act 1984 (WA). In Western Australia, a de
facto relationship is a relationship where two people (regardless
of gender) who are not married to each other live together in a
marriage-like relationship. A consideration of the entire
circumstances of a relationship will determine whether a
relationship is de facto or not. You can be in a de facto
relationship if you are legally married to someone else or in
another de facto relationship.
The court looks at the following circumstances when deciding if
you are in a de-facto relationship:
The length of the relationship;
Whether you lived in the same residence;
The nature and extent of you common residence;
Whether there is, or has been, a sexual relationship between
The degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any
arrangements for financial support, between you;
The ownership, use and purchase of your property (including
property you own individually);
The degree of mutual commitment by you both to a shared
Whether you care for and support children; and
How your relationship as a couple is perceived by others.
Under Western Australian law, de facto relationships include
same-sex relationships. It also allows people in de facto
relationships to be on almost equal standing as those who are
married. With the average wedding costing over $40,000 dollars
it's no wonder people are postponing or re-thinking the need to
tie the knot. Legal rights of a de facto partner can include:
Property and maintenance claims in the family court.
Ability to enter into a financial agreement with partner.
Partner's next of kin.
The right to claim against a deceased partner's
De facto partners are not able to seek orders to
"flag" or "split" their superannuation
entitlements. These options are only available to parties who were
This does not mean that the Court does not take superannuation
into account when deciding how to divide property between de facto
partners. The Court is, in fact, required by the law to consider
the superannuation entitlements of both parties.
Can the Family Court of Western Australia make decisions
about property issues if I am in a de-facto (including same-sex
In WA de facto partners can only make application for property
orders or for partner maintenance if they separated on or after
1 December 2002.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Sect.117 can deal with false statements and knowingly making false allegations of violence could justify a costs order.
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