Issues relating to de facto and same sex relationships under the Family Court Act and the Family Law Act

De Facto / Same Sex Relationships

Generally, two people are considered to be in a de facto relationship when they are over the age of 18, are not related to one another, and live together as a couple in a marriage like relationship.  This also applies to same sex couples.

The issues relating to de facto relationships are governed by the Family Court Act.  Essentially, the laws governing de facto relationships are quite similar to the ones which apply to married couples, except in relation to superannuation.

However, in order to be able to commence proceedings in the Family Court, you are required to show the Court that:-

  • You have been in a relationship for at least two years; or
  • There is a child of the relationship under the age of 18, and failure to make a property settlement order would cause serious injustice to the person caring or responsible for the said child; or
  • The person applying to the Court made significant financial and/or non financial contributions to the relationship and failure to make orders in relation to property settlement would result in serious injustice.

You are also required to show at least one of the following:-

  • That you and the other party resided in Western Australia for at least one third of the period of your relationship; or
  • That substantial financial and/or non financial contributions have been made by you or the other party while resident in Western Australia.

In any event, an application for property settlement must be made within 2 years after the date of separation.

Since the legalisation of same-sex marriage, married parties of the same sex and issues resulting from the breakdown of those relationships are governed by the Family Law Act.


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