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Am I in a De Facto Relationship & what does that mean?

The family law can apply to de facto relationships in the same way as it does to married couples. It is therefore important to seek legal advice in relation to the status of your relationship or separation as early as possible, as the arrangements that you make early in the relationship or separation will impact on your future position.

The Family Law Act 1975 (Act) defines a de facto relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis. If any of the following apply, you or your partner may seek  a division of property upon separation:


  1. The period of the de facto relationship was at least two years; or
  2. There is a child of the relationship; or
  3. There were significant financial contributions made and the failure to assess the relationship as de facto would result in a serious injustice; or 
  4. The relationship was registered as a de facto relationship.


Your property is then assessed under family law in the same way as married couples. For further information in this regard, please see our Property Settlement, Consent Orders and Superannuation Splits pages.

If you were in a de facto relationship, you must apply for financial orders wthin 2 years after separation or you may require the Court's permission to apply.

If you require advice in relation to your de facto relationship or separation, please contact BJT Legal on (03) 5333 8840 or

Please note that this is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice.