De Facto Relationships

Are you in a de facto relationship and need legal advice for a separation, dividing assets and debts or arranging parenting schedules? Our family law lawyers are experts in de facto relationship matters.

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Why you need a family lawyer for making decisions
about your de facto relationship

Financial Assets

Help you know your rights and obligations in a de facto relationship

De facto relationships come in all shapes and sizes, but the law provides a framework to protect all parties. A family lawyer can guide you through how the law applies to your specific circumstances and give you the confidence to make informed decisions throughout the course of the relationship.

Timely Legal Services

Help you divide your property appropriately

Property settlement agreements can cover all assets, liabilities and financial resources held by each party. Under the Family Law Act, de facto couples have the same rights as married couples regarding property settlements and the distribution of property. A family lawyer will explain this process in simple terms and guide you through the complexities to ensure a fair and equitable settlement.

Dispute Resolution

Clarifying parenting responsibilities in the event of separation

Navigating shared parenting responsibilities in a de facto relationship can be challenging, particularly if children are introduced into the relationship by one partner. It is important to understand how the court considers parenting disputes. If you are concerned about how the relationship breakdown will impact your children, a family lawyer can help you navigate this process.

Frequently asked questions

A de facto relationship describes two people (including same-sex) who aren’t married but have lived together as a couple for at least two years without separation.
You do not have to register your de facto relationship by law. However, if you do register the relationship, you will receive a certificate of proof of the relationship. This will be beneficial if you ever need to go to Family Court, as proof of the relationship will grant you access the to court and shorten the overall court process.
If you are ending a de facto relationship, it is always beneficial to seek legal advice, particularly if children and joint property assets are involved. To end a de facto relationship, you do not have to deregister your relationship or receive a separation certificate, all you need to do is inform your partner. However, if you cannot come to an agreement, you can proceed through mediation or court proceedings to formalise a separation agreement that the court considers ‘just and equitable’ to both parties.
De facto relationships can be registered in Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Victoria and Norfolk Island. There is no registration system for de facto relationships in Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.
De facto couples are granted many of the same legal rights as married couples. Under the Family Law Act 1975, de facto couples are entitled to make prenuptial agreements regarding their property and other assets.
If your de facto relationship has ended and a separation agreement cannot be reached, both parties can apply to the court for a property settlement and, if you have shared children, you can apply for a child custody agreement. Regarding children, you and your partner will need to make a formal agreement over custody.
If you cannot come to an agreement, you should commence a court proceeding to determine the split of property. The court will consider a variety of factors relevant to your situation that will result in a fair outcome for both parties.
The arrangement that will be in the best interest of the child is considered foremost. A child custody arrangement will determine who the child lives with, who makes the primary decisions for the child and who the child spends time with. This can be settled between the parents, but if an agreement cannot be reached, the matter will be resolved through the Family Court.
If you and your de facto partner have separated and can’t agree who gets what property, the court will make an order on your behalf and divide property in a fair and reasonable manner, based on the specifics of the individual de facto relationship and future needs of the parties.
If your de facto partner has passed away, where no Will exists, you have rights and entitlements to a share of the estate. If a Will does exist, you have the right to challenge the Will if you believe you are not adequately provided for. You may also be entitled to a payment under workers compensation law if your partner’s death occurred in a work-related incident.

Why choose us

We will tell you the truth at all times

We will be honest with you about your prospects of success, issues that arise or the commercial viability of your matter. The first time you come to see us, we will tell you whether you even need a lawyer.

We will respect you and your situation

Our job is not to judge anything you may have done. Our job is to guide your matter and actions moving forward to give you the best possible outcome for you, both legally and personally.

We will listen and understand your needs

We will hear not just what you want to achieve, but why you want to achieve it. We will tell you what you need to do to achieve the outcome you are after, legally, practically and emotionally.

We will stand by you all the way

Your matter doesn’t finish once a court order has been made. We will stay on your matter right up until all of the outstanding issues have been dealt with and the court orders are complied with.

We can help you through your divorce.

Forge Legal’s divorce lawyers are specialists in all areas of family law and can assist you with all legal matters in your divorce/separation.

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