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De facto and same sex couples now included in Family Law Act

Same Sex Couples

Since March 2009, de facto couples and same sex couples seeking separation have been dealt with at a Federal level, under the Family Law Act 1975. The Act covers property division, maintenance, financial agreements and superannuation.

De facto couples seeking a separation

Under the law, a de-facto relationship is defined as ‘a couple who are co-habiting for at least two years’.  If you’re in a de-facto relationship and experiencing challenges in your separation, you might not be aware of the legal ramifications – including the limitation periods for a matters resolve.

To qualify for treatment as a de facto couple under the Family Law Act, the Family Law Courts must be satisfied in one of the following areas:

  • Your de facto relationship has spanned a minimum of two years
  • You and your partner have a child
  • Your or your partner has made substantial financial or non-financial contributions to your property (or as a homemaker or parent) and serious injustice would otherwise result
  • The de facto relationship has been registered in a State or Territory that has laws for the registration of relationships.

Same sex couples seeking a separation

Previously dealt with under the Property Relations Act, now same sex couples are treated as de facto.   The Child Support (Assessment) Act also applies to same-sex couples.

For more information about the Act for de facto and same sex couples, visit the Family Law Courts website.

Seeking the right legal advice, before it’s too late

If you are in the midst of a separation, make sure you seek sound legal advice and resolve matters before the time limits expire. If you miss the two-year cut-off date, you may become barred from resolving the situation under the conditions of this law.

Whatever your situation, we are able to help all parties reach a peaceful resolution. Our family lawyers are highly experienced in assisting with separation, property division and more importantly, resolving circumstances involving children.

If you need some friendly legal advice before for after separation, do not hesitate to email us at

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