By Lauren Oswin

2 March 2022

Under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“the Act”), a de facto partner is treated in an almost identical way to a married spouse.

Marriage in Australia

A marriage is defined as the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

 

Being married means your relationship is recognised immediately. A valid marriage in Australia is recognised worldwide and proving your marriage is as simple as producing your marriage certificate.

 

To legally end your marriage in Australia, you need to obtain a divorce. To do this you must meet the relevant criteria including having been separated for at least 12 months.

 

De facto relationships in Australia

A de facto relationship is more broadly defined in the Act. To be considered in a de facto relationship you must live with your partner on a genuine domestic basis and must not be legally married or related.

 

Proving the existence of a de facto relationship is harder than proving a marriage as you do not have a certificate to produce.

 

Under family law to be considered to be in a de facto relationship you must live with your partner for at least two years although there are some circumstances (for example having a child together, registering your relationship, or making substantial financial contributions for the benefit of your partner) that can reduce the two-year requirement.

 

Unlike a marriage, you can simply end a de facto relationship. There is no equivalent of a divorce for a de facto relationship.

 

Overall, the main difference between being married and being in a de facto relationship is the requirement that as a de facto you must prove the existence of the relationship as you do not have the benefit of a certificate.

 

If you have any questions or require specific advice about this issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the TLFC family law team on (03) 8600 9333 and we will be happy to assist you.

 

Disclaimer
The above does not constitute legal advice, but is information which may be of general interest. Tisher Liner FC Law will not be held liable or responsible for any claim, which is made as a result of any person relying upon the information contained in this publication.

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