Under the Property (Relationships) Act, a de facto relationship is defined as a partnership between two adults who are not and never were married, living together as a couple and are not related to each other in any way.

To be considered part of a de facto relationship, both parties must be at least 18 years of age.

According to the Law Society of NSW, those who have been identified as members of a de facto relationship will often have the same rights as a married couple. This is important to keep in mind if you’re in the midst of estate planning.

A number of factors are taken into consideration when determining whether or not a couple is in a de facto relationship. The five main factors are:

•   The couple’s finances;

•   The “nature of the household”;

•   The presence of a sexual relationship;

•   The ‘social aspects’ of the partnership;

•   The nature of your commitment to each other.

Such evidence is used to decide the outcome of legal cases, such as child custody battles, involving persons who are not married.

What happens if a de facto relationship breaks down?

You can come to an agreement with your partner and execute a binding financial agreement, or alternatively make an application to the Court and your matter will be dealt with accordingly. Please make sure you apply within 2 years of the relationship breaking down. Should more than two years have passed, you may be entitled to make a claim in some circumstances – particularly if you have a child together.

If you would like more advice on de facto relationships, contact our lawyers at The Quinn Group. Submit an online enquiry at www.quinns.com.au or call 02 9223 9166.