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De Facto Lawyer Sydney

When it comes to the complications involving de facto relationships, ensuring your rights are protected is pivotal.

We recognise that each relationship is unique. That’s why at Ramsden Family Law, we approach every case with the care and attention it deserves.

Our team of experienced de facto lawyers in Sydney are able to provide you with the expert legal advice and support you need.

Whether you are at the beginning of your relationship or facing the challenges of separation, our team is here to guide you through the legal landscape with confidence and clarity.

Book a free initial consultation with us today to get started.

Evolve Legal - What is a De Facto Relationship?

What is a De Facto Relationship?

A de facto relationship involves two people who live together on a genuine domestic basis without being legally married. This applies to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

At Ramsden Family Law, we can help you determine if your relationship meets the legal criteria and what that means for you. Understanding whether you qualify as a de facto couple is crucial in determining your legal rights and obligations.

Qualifying for a De Facto Relationship Criteria:

  • The couple has lived together for at least two years; and/or
  • There is a child in the relationship; and/or
  • One partner has made significant financial or property contributions; and/or
  • The relationship is registered under state or territory law.

Factors Considered by the Court:

In the event of a dispute about the existence of a de facto relationship, the court will evaluate:

  • The duration of the relationship
  • The nature and extent of common residence
  • Whether a sexual relationship exists
  • The degree of financial dependence or interdependence
  • The ownership and use of property
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life
  • The care and support of children
  • The reputation and public aspects of the relationship

Legal Rights of De Facto Couples

As a de facto couple, you are entitled to many of the same rights and protections as married couples under Australian law. These rights cover various aspects of your relationship, from financial support to property settlements, and understanding them is crucial to protecting your interests.

Rights and Obligations

Property and Financial Settlements

In the event of a de facto relationship separation, both partners are entitled to a fair division of property and assets. This includes the division of financial resources, real estate, superannuation and personal property.

Spousal Maintenance

If one partner is unable to support themselves adequately post-separation, they may be entitled to spousal maintenance from the other partner. Spousal maintenance is when one spouse makes periodic or lump sum payments to contribute to the other spouse if they cannot support themselves.

Inheritance Rights

If a de facto partner dies without a will, the surviving partner may have a right to claim a portion of the estate. Additionally, if not adequately provided for in the will, the surviving partner can contest it.

Child Support and Custody

If there are children from the de facto relationship, this may impact how the court assess the paternity or presumption of parentage.

Financial Contributions and Entitlements

Contributions made by either partner, whether financial or non-financial, are considered during property settlements. This includes homemaking and parenting contributions. De facto partners may also be entitled to a share of their partner’s superannuation.

Proving a De Facto Relationship

Proving the existence of a de facto relationship is a crucial step in accessing the legal rights and entitlements available to de facto couples. This process involves providing evidence that your relationship meets the legal criteria outlined under the Family Law Act 1975.

Criteria and Evidence Required

To establish that a de facto relationship exists, various types of evidence must be presented to demonstrate the genuine nature and duration of the relationship.

Duration of the Relationship

One of the key criteria is the duration of cohabitation. Typically, a couple must have lived together for at least two years. Evidence to support this can include a shared residential history, such as joint lease agreements, utility bills, and correspondence addressed to both partners at the same address. These documents collectively help to establish the length and continuity of the cohabitation.

Financial Interdependence

Financial interdependence is another significant aspect. This can be demonstrated through joint bank account statements, shared household expenses, and joint mortgage or lease agreements. These financial documents illustrate the extent to which the partners share economic responsibilities and manage their finances together.

Nature of the Household

The nature of the household is also considered. Evidence might include documents showing shared responsibilities such as housework or childcare, which highlight how the couple functions as a domestic unit. Proof of shared living arrangements and contributions to household management further support the claim of a genuine domestic relationship.

Social Recognition

Social recognition of the relationship is important as well. This can be proven through joint invitations to social events, photographs, and travel documents that show the couple’s shared activities. Statements from friends, family, and community members can also affirm how the relationship is perceived publicly.

Mutual Commitment

Demonstrating mutual commitment involves showing plans for a future together. Evidence of shared goals, investments, and long-term planning can be compelling. Additionally, any proof of emotional and psychological support, such as correspondence and shared experiences, helps to underline the depth of the relationship.

Legal Documentation and Registration

In some states and territories, couples can opt to register their de facto relationship. This official recognition simplifies the proof process significantly. Declarations and affidavits from both partners, as well as from third parties, can serve as additional evidence to corroborate the existence and nature of the relationship.

At Ramsden Family Law, we understand that gathering and presenting this evidence can be daunting. Our expert lawyers are here to assist you in compiling the necessary documentation and building a strong case to ensure your relationship is recognised and your rights are upheld.

Separation and Property Settlements

Separation and Property Settlements

When a de facto relationship comes to an end, the division of property and financial resources can become a complex and emotionally charged issue. We are committed to guiding you through this challenging time with clarity and confidence, ensuring a fair and equitable settlement that protects your interests.

Division of Assets and Liabilities

The division of property in a de facto separation follows principles similar to those in divorce proceedings. The court takes into account several factors to determine a fair distribution of assets and liabilities. These factors include the financial contributions made by each former de facto partner, both direct and indirect, as well as non-financial contributions, such as homemaking and child care. The court also considers the future needs of each partner, including their age, health, income, and financial resources, as well as the length of the relationship.

Evidence supporting financial contributions might include:

  • Bank statements
  • Receipts
  • Records of shared expenses
  • Non-financial contributions can be demonstrated through affidavit/statement/declaration and documentation of household roles and childcare responsibilities.

Legal Processes and Court Representation for De Facto Couples

Negotiation and Mediation

Before turning to litigation, the court encourages couples to resolve their differences through negotiation and mediation. This approach can lead to a mutually acceptable agreement without the need for a court hearing. Mediation sessions are designed to help both parties communicate effectively and reach a fair settlement with the guidance of a neutral mediator.

Binding Financial Agreements

Couples can formalise their settlement through a binding financial agreement. This agreement outlines the division of assets and financial support arrangements and can be made before, during, or after the relationship. It provides a clear framework for the settlement and is legally enforceable.

Consent Orders

If an agreement is reached, it can be formalised through a consent order, which is approved and sealed by the court. This order makes the agreement legally binding and ensures that both parties comply with its terms.

Court Proceedings

If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation or mediation, the matter may need to be decided by the Family Court. Our experienced lawyers will represent your interests in such cases, presenting a compelling case to ensure a fair outcome. The court will consider all relevant factors and make a decision based on the principles of justice and equity.

Spousal Maintenance and Financial Support

In some cases, one partner may be entitled to spousal maintenance if they cannot support themselves adequately post-separation. The court considers factors such as the applicant’s ability to earn an income, the respondent’s capacity to pay maintenance, the standard of living during the relationship, and the age and health of both parties. Evidence supporting a claim for spousal maintenance can include financial statements, employment records, and documentation of living expenses.

Protecting Your Rights & Interests with Expert Legal Guidance

At Ramsden Family Law, we understand that separation and property settlements can be emotionally taxing and legally complex.

Our team is dedicated to ensuring that your financial interests are protected throughout the process. We provide strategic advice, robust representation, and compassionate support to help you achieve a fair and favourable settlement.

Contact us today to discuss your situation and learn how we can assist you in securing a positive outcome.

Why Choose Us

Specialist Team

Specialist Team

Our team of 12 family lawyers only practice family and divorce law so we know what we are doing.

Our <br>Fees


We can offer fixed fees for certain work, payment plans and are up front with our fee estimates.

Quick Turnaround

Quick Turnaround

Our extensive support team ensures each lawyer’s file load does not compromise their efficiency.

Resolution Focused

Resolution Focused

Our experienced lawyers will explore all options to resolve your case without court intervention if possible.