De facto breakup entitlements in Australia - update

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When a de facto relationship ends, the partners have similar rights to those of married couples.
Australia Family and Matrimonial
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This article is an update of article on 10 March 2023: here

You may be able to receive de facto breakup entitlements in Australia if you satisfy the criteria of being in a de facto relationship.

It is important to know that you and your partner may be able to get a share of the properties you put in before and throughout your relationship.

Since the concept of a "de facto relationship" is so unlike that of a "marriage" or a "married couple," many people do not understand their entitlements to property.

If you take it to court, you may be awarded a portion of the property pool.

What Happens if a de Facto Relationship Ends?

When a de facto relationship ends in Australia, the parties involved have similar rights to those of married couples, particularly concerning the division of property and financial settlements. Under the Family Law Act 1975, de facto partners have the right to apply for a property settlement, which includes the distribution of assets and liabilities acquired during the relationship.

To qualify for such claims, the de facto relationship must have lasted at least two years, or there must be a child from the relationship or significant contributions have been made by one partner, and serious injustice would be suffered if the court did not order a settlement. Additionally, the application for a property settlement must be made within two years from the date of separation; otherwise, special permission from the court is needed.

The process of separating assets can be complex, and the court considers various factors, including both partners' financial and non-financial contributions to the relationship and their future needs.

Factors such as age, health, financial resources, care of children, and the ability to earn may influence the court's decision on the division of property and financial support.

If children are involved, considerations for their care and support also come into play, including parenting arrangements and child support.

While the law aims to facilitate a fair and equitable resolution, it's advisable for individuals to seek legal advice to navigate the intricacies of the process and ensure their rights and interests are adequately represented.

What Can a De Facto Claim?

The property pool includes things that are in your name and your de facto partner's name:

  • Superannuation
  • Bank Accounts
  • Debts or personal loans
  • Business assets
  • Shares and other investments
  • Personal property, including cars, boats, jewellery pieces, and furniture
  • Other real estate properties
  • The family home

How Long Before a De Facto Can Claim?

A de facto can claim money from a property settlement when they are considered a de facto partner.

For many people, this falls under two categories:

  1. They have been living together for 2 years; or
  2. They have children together.

There are time limits when claiming property in de facto breakup entitlements in Australia. You have two years from the date of separation to file a family court property claim.

This rule can be bypassed if children or substantial contributions are made during this short period.

Section 90SB of the Family Law Act stipulates that a court may issue an order for maintenance or an order declaring or modifying property interests for former de facto spouses if the court is satisfied that one of the following prerequisite conditions has been met:

  • that the relationship lasted for two years
  • that a child was conceived during the relationship and is a child of both parties
  • that the relationship has been registered under specified legislation of a State or Territory
  • that any of these two applies:
    • the partner in the relationship who seeks the order or declaration has made major contributions to the welfare of the family
    • a denial of the order or declaration would result in grave unfairness to the applicant.

How Are Property Splits Worked Out in De Facto Breakup Entitlements Australia?

When you go to a family lawyer to learn more about de facto breakup entitlements Australia, they will look at the property pool and the contributions you and your partner made.

Your legal adviser may give a potential "range" of what you can expect from the property pool that a court may award you.

You can use this pre-calculated percentage to negotiate better.

Also read: De Facto Relationship Rights Australia

Am I Entitled to Maintenance in a De Facto Relationship?

Maintenance or support grant depends on several factors regarding de facto breakup entitlements Australia. The application must be successful, and your ex-partner can pay for support. The court takes these considerations for that matter:

  • Your age
  • Financial status
  • Working ability
  • Standard of living
  • Whether the relationship resulted in your inability to earn a living

Is There a Need to Register My De Facto Relationship?

Registration of a de facto relationship is not required for de facto breakup entitlements Australia.

Not all states and territories include provisions for registering de facto relationships in their state laws.


Question: What Are De Facto Breakup Entitlements Australia?

Answer: You may be able to receive de facto breakup entitlements Australia if you satisfy the criteria of being in a de facto relationship. The Family Court of Australia treats de facto partners the same way they do legally married couples.

Separation with de facto partners can be complicated to deal with. Seeking de legal advice would help you negotiate a de facto property settlement, prevent foreseeable disputes, and speed up the process.

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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