The Basics: De facto relationships

Couples who live together and are not married live in what is called a de facto relationship.

Sometimes it is difficult to decide whether a qualifying de facto relationship exists. It can often be important to establish if there is a de facto relationship for the purpose of division of property, either on a relationship breakup or when one partner dies.

It is a matter of whether the couple have a mutual commitment to a shared life together.

The property division regime that applies to married couples similarly applies to couples in a qualifying de facto relationship of three years or more.

For a couple in a de facto relationship that has lasted less than three years, their property may still be divided on a contribution basis, if there is a child of the relationship or one partner has made a substantial contribution to the relationship.

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