Is De Facto a Spouse?
De facto relationships are recognised and treated similarly to traditional marriages, especially when it comes to legal matters like property division, financial settlements, and child custody.
Let’s get into the intricacies of the answer to the question, “Is de facto a spouse?”
What Defines a De Facto Relationship?
According to the Family Law Act 1975, a de facto relationship exists when two people, regardless of gender, live together on a genuine domestic basis.
However, you’re not in a de facto relationship if you’re legally married to each other or related by family.
The relationship must also meet certain “gateway” criteria, such as a minimum duration of two years, to be eligible for legal considerations like property settlements.
The Australian Tax Office and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia recognise de facto relationships regarding financial matters.
Parties in a de facto relationship can apply for financial orders in the same way as married couples. Financial dependency and interdependence are also considered when determining the nature of the relationship.
Children and De Facto Relationships
The Federal Circuit and Family Court deals with child-related issues in de facto relationships in the same manner as it does for married couples.
This includes matters of custody, support, and welfare.
Property division in the event of a relationship breakdown is another crucial topic.
The law considers various factors, such as the length of the relationship, financial contributions, and mutual commitments, to determine a just and equitable property division.
Registration and Legal Recognition
Some Australian states allow for the registration of de facto relationships, providing a certificate as proof.
This registration can be beneficial for legal matters, including property division.
How We Can Provide Assistance
When the client first walked into our office, he was filled with questions.
He wanted to know if his relationship with his male partner was considered “de facto” under Australian law.
We examined various aspects of their relationship, such as the length of time they had lived together, their financial interdependence, and their mutual commitment to a shared life.
After a thorough evaluation, we confirmed that their relationship met Australia’s legal criteria for a de facto relationship.
This meant that both he and his partner were entitled to the same legal rights and responsibilities as a traditionally married couple, including being considered “spouses.”
Seek Legal Advice
A de facto relationship in Australia grants you nearly the same legal rights and responsibilities as a traditional marriage.
Understanding these rights and responsibilities is crucial, especially when navigating complex issues like finances, property, and child custody.
Consulting with a law firm can provide you with tailored guidance and peace of mind as you make important life decisions.
Don’t leave your future to chance; get the legal clarity you need to move forward with confidence.
Director of Melbourne Family Lawyers, Hayder manages the practice and oversees the running of all of the files in the practice. Hayder has an astute eye for case strategy and running particularly complex matters in the family law system.