De Facto Relationships: How to Handle a Tough Situation

De facto couples have almost all the same rights as married couples. The Family Court Act recognises the existence of a de facto relationship whether the partners are heterosexual or same-sex, or even if one or both of them are legally married to someone else. In Western Australia, de facto couples are presently unable to split superannuation, unlike the rest of Australia.

While there is no requirement for people in a de facto relationship to obtain a divorce when the relationship comes to an end, they have the same responsibilities for finance and child care as if they were married. When you’ve been living with your de facto partner for at least two years, separation can be complicated. Discussing your case with Family Law specialists can help you understand your rights and how to proceed. Leach Legal are Family Law specialists who advise and guide our clients through a separation with compassion and understanding.
Consider these three areas when you’re facing the end of your de facto relationship:


1. What classifies a de facto relationship?
A de facto relationship is one where you have been living with your domestic partner for at least two years, but are not married. In certain circumstances, a de facto relationship can be less than two years. Leach Legal are Family Law specialists with an excellent history of facilitating swift, amicable separations for de facto relationships.

2. Is there a time limit to finalising the separation?
If you need to start a case regarding financial separation from your de facto partner, you must do so within two years. If you wait any longer than this, you must get permission from the courts to pursue an agreement or make one with your past partner. It is essential that you contact your lawyer sooner rather than later if you wish to draw up an agreement covering any financial responsibilities between the two of you. We offer a free 15-minute consultation for all clients, so if you’d like to discuss your situation, call us today.

3. What happens if I’m in a violent de facto relationship?
If you are in a violent de facto relationship, you need to consult a lawyer. You need to make sure you protect both yourself and any children involved. We have experience in advising on violent relationships and are always available to help. We can prepare the necessary legal documentation to ensure your protection while meeting your other legal needs such as assisting with financial arrangements and restraining orders if required.

Whether your de facto relationship is ending amicably or if you’re in a difficult situation, having financial and childcare agreements drawn up promptly is the best policy. You need to make sure you protect your rights and the rights of the children involved.

We have extensive experience advising on de facto relationships and welcome the opportunity to discuss your situation. Contact us today for more information.

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