What is a de facto relationship?
In Western Australia, a de facto relationship is a relationship where two people who are not married to each other live together in a marriage-like relationship. De facto relationships have been recognised by Western Australian family law since 2002.
The sorts of things that are looked at to work out whether you are or have been in a de facto relationship include:
- the length of the relationship
- whether you have lived together and for how long
- whether there is a sexual relationship
- the extent that each of you are/were financially dependent on the other person
- how you have chosen to own property and whether you own it together
- how committed each of you are to shared life
- whether you care for or support children
- the public aspects of your relationship
In Western Australia, can same-sex relationships be considered de facto relationships?
Yes, under Western Australian law, de facto relationships include same-sex relationships.
If I have separated from my de facto partner (including same-sex partner), can the Family Court of Western Australia make decisions about our property issues?
Yes, since 1 December 2002, the Family Court of Western Australia can (in certain circumstances) make decisions about property and partner maintenance for de facto couples, including same-sex couples.
For more information on when the Family Court can make a decision about de facto property or partner maintenance, see Dividing property – de facto couples.
Where your relationship ended before 1 December 2002, the Family Court of WA cannot make a decision about your property settlement. Please seek legal advice if you think this applies to you, as the law in this area is complicated.
For more information on dividing your property if you were in a de facto relationship, see Dividing property - de facto couples.
If I have separated from my de facto partner (including same-sex partner), can the Family Court of Western Australia make decisions about our children?
Yes, the Family Court of Western Australia can make decisions about your children if you have separated. For more information about making arrangements for your children, see Frequently Asked Questions - arrangements for children. For more information if you are in a same-sex relationship and have children, see Same-sex parenting.
Where can I get more information?
- You can call the Legal Aid WA InfoLine on 1300 650 579 for an appropriate referral
Last reviewed: 16/2/2015