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DBH Lawyers

- 31 Aug 2016
  • Family Law

De Facto Breakdown: Your rights after a de facto relationship breakup

Man looking through window venetian blinds

De facto relationships are now much the same as marriage when it comes to dividing property after the relationship breaks down.

After you have lived together for two years you are in a de facto relationship, you will need advice about what to do to protect your property and what you will be entitled to in your particular circumstances.

The length of your relationship is one important consideration but there are others.

If you have a child together then you can make a claim for a division of property even if you have not lived together for two years.

Also, if one of you made a large contribution to the assets, or you own property together, then you will have rights to property even though you have not lived together for two years.

Couples who do not live together full time may still be in a de facto relationship, particularly if they share or mix their finances. 

If you are unsure then be safe and get advice as to whether your relationship will be defined as a de facto relationship.

The division of property for de facto couples comes under the Family Law Act 1975.

There is no discrimination against same sex couples in regard to the division of property and the provisions for de facto couples will also apply to same sex couples.

You will need to know the value of all assets, liabilities and superannuation in your individual and your joint names.

There may be property held by businesses, companies or trusts that will need to be valued.

Find out what your partner earns including all benefits and employment entitlements.

Keep your most precious items safe, even if you don’t know who is keeping what.

If you have children, think about how much time they will spend with you and how this will affect your ability to earn and accumulate savings and superannuation in the future. This will affect the amount of property you should retain.

It essential that when you separate you get advice before making decisions about your property so that you know what you are entitled to and that you are set up for your future in the best way possible.


Going through a de facto relationship breakdown and need advice?