Same-sex couples now have the same rights as heterosexual couples in the context of de facto relationships under the Family Law Act 1975. Since the legislative changes commencing on 1 March 2009, the Family Court now has the power to make orders to adjust the property between same sex couples who have separated.
Parties to a same sex relationship who have lived together on a genuine domestic basis for at least 2 years (or less if they have a child or children) must apply for de facto financial orders within 2 years of the breakdown of the relationship. After this limitation period, a party will need the Court’s permission to apply out of time.
There is no limitation period when it comes to parenting matters.
In some cases, one of the parties to the relationship may dispute that the couple were in fact in a “de facto” relationship. In considering whether or not a de facto relationship existed, the Court will have regard to any or all of the following:
- The duration of the relationship
- The nature and extent of their common residence
- Whether a sexual relationship exists
- The degree of financial dependence or interdependence and any arrangement for financial support between the parties
- The ownership, use and acquisition of their property
- The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life
- Whether the relationship is or was registered
- The care and support of a child or children