What can a de facto partner claim in a break up or separation?

Mini couple standing on money. What can a de facto partner claim?

by | Sep 14, 2022 | Blog, De Facto

When relationships break down, disputes over property can be difficult to solve. Often there’s a few items that neither party can bear to let go of, whether that’s a record collection, a car, home or even a beloved pet.

If you can’t solve your dispute amongst yourselves, the next step should be to contact a family law expert. They can help you understand what you’re legally entitled to, provide advice, and help mediate the discussion and negotiate on your behalf to help you reach a fair resolution. 

To get you started, let’s take a closer look at the property rights of de facto partners.

First of all, are you in a de facto relationship?

Before you consider what your property entitlements may be, you should make sure that you are in fact in a de facto relationship. Australian family law defines a de facto relationship as when ‘two people are living together on a genuine domestic basis.’ They can be of the same or opposite sex, but they cannot be related by family. 

To determine whether or not you are in a genuine domestic partnership the family court will consider a number of factors, which might include:

  • The length of the relationship. 
  • Your living arrangements (whether or not you live together).
  • If you were in a sexual relationship. 
  • If you depended on each other financially. 
  • Any arrangements for financial support. 
  • How property is owned and how you came to own it. 
  • Public perception of your relationship. 
  • If you shared a life together and made commitments. 

It’s important to remember that going to court to resolve a de facto relationship property dispute should be seen as the last resort.

Do I have to go to court?

Before you go to court to resolve a dispute you should consider a number of options. First you should do everything you can to resolve the disagreement amongst each other outside of court. 

If that’s not possible, get in touch with the team here at Testart Family Law – we can arrange a lawyer or mediator to help you and your ex-partner work through your dispute. This is a cheaper and generally easier way to move forward than going to family law court. 

If necessary, these agreements can even be formalised through an application for consent orders through the court. We can also make sure you understand exactly what you’re entitled to and provide honest, clear advice so that you’re prepared should you need to go to family court. 

Man in blue shirt stacking coins. What can a de facto claim?

What am I entitled to as a de facto partner in a break up?

If you can’t resolve your dispute outside of court, you’ll need to apply for financial orders regarding the division of your property. This needs to be done within two years of separation. 

To make a claim on relationship property you must have been together for at least two years, or or have a child together. A court may also consider whether one of you made contributions to the relationship’s assets and whether it’d be an injustice if one of you is left at a financial disadvantage. Once it has been established that you were in a de facto relationship the court will split the relationship’s property by:

  1. Assessing the contributions that each of you made during the relationship. This can include financial contributions such as buying property, or non-financial contributions such as caring for children. 
  2. Estimating what you and your ex’s future financial needs may be. 
  3. Figuring out whether the division of property proposed is fair.

This process will end differently for every couple because every relationship is unique. But property that you may be entitled to could include bank accounts, real estate, investments, business assets, personal property, debts and even superannuation.

Need help with your de facto relationship break up?

Breaking up is hard at the best of times, but when you add a property dispute it can be an even more drawn out and difficult process.

The expert team at Testart Family Law are here to make it easier for you. From the first call through to resolution of your dispute, we’ll take care of you, providing honest advice and legal support. Get in touch today and arrange a complimentary first meeting to get started.