Do de facto couples have the same rights as married couples after separation?
The law in Western Australia provides that de facto and same sex couples may be entitled to a property settlement or spousal maintenance after separation in the same way as married couples (with one exception). You can also apply to the Family Court for parenting orders.
The exception is that, for de facto couples, the Court cannot make orders splitting superannuation entitlements.
Were you in a de facto relationship?
The Court must first determine if you were actually in a de facto relationship. There are many factors that can be taken into account, including:
- The length of your relationship;
- Whether you lived in the same house;
- Whether you were financially dependent on each other;
- The ownership, use and acquisition of property;
- Your commitment to a shared life;
- Whether you have cared for and supported children; and
- The public nature of your relationship.
How long do de facto couples have to obtain a property settlement?
A financial relationship exists whether you have been married or in a de facto relationship and this relationship will continue to exist until an order is made by the Family Court.
You should commence any application for property settlement or spousal maintenance within two years of the date of your separation. After this time, you will need permission from the Family Court to make an application.
Our experienced family law team can provide advice on all aspects of the law as it relates to de facto and same sex couples, including how to manage negotiations on property or child related matters.