What Is a De Facto Relationship & What to Do When It Ends?

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By Luciana Oliveira

You might be asking what is a de facto marriage. It is the relationship, according to the family law act, is when two people of the same or different sex live together on a genuine domestic basis. The law recognizes the association. Many factors can help a family law court determine if your relationship is de facto or not. Here are some of the factors the law can use to determine if a couple is living on a genuine basis.

If a sexual relationship existed

If the relationship’s nature is sexual, it means that those involved are in a de facto relationship.

Degree of financial dependency

If one party depends wholly on the other, the two will be known to be in that relationship. If both of the parties involved are providing financially for themselves, they can be said to be in a de facto relationship.

Care of children

If the relationship has gotten fruits and the kids are being cared for by the couple, it can be declared de facto.


What evidence can be used by a family court in case a de facto couple splits?

The chances of splitting and separating are possible in any relationship, and de facto is no exception. For a court to see that the relationship exists, the evidence presented in court in separation is on the table.

  • Love letters

Love letters between the two lovers can be presented to the family lawyers when there Is a legal battle if a will is to be written.

  • Photos

The use of photos with the couple’s images together in public places can be another way to show that the relationship was in existence.

  • Statement from friends and relatives

If family and friends can testify that the couple were dating and living together, then the relationship can be recognized by the law.

  • Text messages and emails

In the situation where divorce is in the picture, one of the parties can produce texts and emails that the couple used to prove that the relationship existed.

  • Bank statements

Any transaction from the bank showing any transaction between the two parties can be used to show that the relationship was in existence and roughly for how long.

These are some of the things that can be used to prove that you were in a relationship with anyone and that you were living together. The evidence can also be used when registering a de facto relationship.


What scenarios can property settlement be considered when the relationship ends?

A de facto union is like any marriage that exists out there, and if separation is inevitable, then the law got your back. So what happens when a de facto relationship ends? Here are some of the circumstances that property settlement can be considered.

  • If the parties had been in the relationship for more than two years
  • if you are moving with small children as a result of the relationship
  • If the union was registered under the state or territory law
  • If one of the parties had made a significant contribution to the marriage


If you are in a de facto union, you are assured that the law recognizes your relationship, and in case of separation, you can rest easy if you had invested so much in it.

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Luciana joined our team as a mum blogger in 2020. A dedicated mum to a lively daughter and a dog, Luna, Luciana brings authenticity and passion to every post. Her expertise in parenting and lifestyle topics offers practical, relatable advice for real-life situations.

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