In every State except Western Australia, an amendment to the Family Law Act of 1975 stipulates that long-term relationships, if deemed de facto relationships, are covered by its marriage and divorce laws and subject to the same benefits and restrictions as a legal marriage. This means that, depending on certain aspects of your relationship, you may be subject to the same rights and rules of a married couple’s divorce—including asset division and financial separation.
In Western Australia de facto relationships are covered by the Family Court Act 1997 and dealt with in the Family Court of Western Australia.
Guidelines for Securing a de Facto “Divorce”
If you believe your relationship could be considered a de facto relationship, you may be able to treat the separation as a legal divorce. This means that financial and family disputes can be brought before the family court for resolution. However, before the court can settle your disputes, you must prove to the court that your relationship was, in fact, a de facto relationship by satisfying at least one of the following requirements:
- Your relationship lasted at least two years.
- There are children of the relationship.
- The relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory.
- You or your partner contributed large amounts of money to the relationship and the failure to issue an order would result in a serious injustice.
In WA, if there are children from the relationship your case comes under the Family Court of WA. If not then you have to meet the requirements for a de facto relationship.
Obtaining the required information to prove the legitimacy of your relationship can be difficult without a seasoned lawyer’s help. This is why seeking the advice and guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer such as Wayne Dawkins is important; once you have legitimately satisfied the court’s de facto separation requirements, you can proceed with securing your claim for a fair financial settlement or parenting orders.
There are also time limits that apply in de facto relationship financial settlements.
Contact us today at (08) 9214 3887 to get the guidance and advice you need during your separation. Remember, just because you weren’t married doesn’t mean you don’t have rights. Call now or come see us at our Perth office to learn how we can help you protect those rights.