Am I in a de facto relationship?

Am I in a de facto relationship?

25 October 2021 Authored by: Tiana Harris   |   Topics: Family law

Ever wondered what ‘de facto’ really means? CGW family lawyer Tiana Harris explains.


Hi, I’m Tiana, and I’m a lawyer in the family law team here at Cooper Grace Ward. Today I’m going to be talking about de facto relationships. Usually some clients come to us and there is some uncertainty as to whether they actually are in a de facto relationship or not.

When am I in a de facto relationship?

So, two people are in a de facto relationship when they’re not married they’re living together on a genuine domestic basis and they’re not related by family at all. And by this, I mean that you’re not roommates living in the same house together. It has to be a bit more than that. So, things like having a sexual relationship with that person, financial dependence, being listed as a spouse on their tax return, paying joint bills, things like that. Other things that might not be so obvious are how you present yourself in public. Do you go out with friends with this person? How do your friends perceive your relationship with this person? Do you post on social media? Is there a long chain of texts and emails with this person and so on. And so why this is relevant is the family law courts can make a property settlement if you have been in a de facto relationship with someone for two years or more.

How do I protect my assets and property in a de facto relationship?

So, there are steps that you can take before you start living with someone such as entering into a binding financial agreement that will protect your assets and property that you bring into the relationship, as well as maintaining separate finances throughout your relationship.

Further help with de facto relationships

So, if you have any questions about whether you are in a de facto relationship or not please do not hesitate to contact me or one of the other family lawyers here at Cooper Grace Ward.



Contact Us

This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please let us know.