Am I in a de facto relationship?
A de facto relationship describes a relationship between a man and woman who live together as husband and wife although they are not legally married. In some cases, same-sex couples can also be in a de facto relationship. There is no one legal definition of a de facto relationship as there are different requirements for different legal purposes.
The same laws apply to same-sex couples as heterosexual (different-sex) couples.
What happens if there is a dispute about children?
The same family law covers disputes about all children. See Children and parenting.
What happens if there is a dispute about property?
If your de facto relationship ended on or after 1 March 2009, you may be able to apply for a property settlement under the Family Law Act if:
- you lived together as a couple for at least two years, or
- there is a child of the relationship, or
- you or your ex-partner made substantial contributions (financial or otherwise) to the relationship.
If you lived in WA for part of your relationship, you should get legal advice.
See Dividing your property.
Does it matter if we were not married?
No. If you are a de facto (including same-sex) couple you are now able to apply for a property settlement and/or spousal maintenance under the Family Law Act.
Is a same sex relationship recognised by law?
- Same sex couples cannot legally marry in Australia.
- Overseas marriages of same sex couples are not recognised as marriages in Australia.
- Same sex relationships are recognised as de facto relationships for some legal purposes but not all.
- Same sex couples can own property jointly and have the same rights to property settlement as other de facto couples in Queensland.
- Same sex couples can leave property to each other in their will and can appoint each other in a power of attorney or statutory health authority.
- A de facto partner, including same sex couples, are considered spouses under the intestacy rules.
- Domestic violence protection orders are available to same sex couples.
- Same sex couples cannot legally adopt a child but can be considered as foster carers.