Before we explore what de facto rights in NSW are, let’s first understand the meaning of “de facto relationship.”
A de facto relationship can be defined as a relationship where two people who are not married to one another, and who are not related to one other live together in the same house, as a couple.
In other words, there are two characteristic features of a de facto relationship, i.e., firstly, it is a domestic relationship, and secondly, there is no marriage involved.
According to the law, living together in a genuine domestic basis, is what is classified as a de facto relationship.
What Is Genuine Domestic Basis?
To understand de facto rights in NSW, it is also essential to first understand if those rights apply to you. As mentioned above, according to the law, the defining feature of a de facto relationship is that the couple must be living together in a genuine domestic basis.
Certain factors that are included in this are: –
- The duration of time in which the couple has lived together;
- The nature of the household;
- Whether the couple shared finances, or if there was one financially independent partner on whom the other was dependent on;
- Whether the couple has committed to a life together;
- Whether the couple share children, and caring arrangements;
- How other people viewed or perceived the couple – whether others saw them as a couple, or simply as housemates;
- Whether the parties involved were intimate with each other;
- The acquisition and ownership of property and assets; and
- Whether the relationship was registered in a state or territory.
In NSW you can register your relationship online, on the NSW Government’s Relationships Register. A registered relationship is legally recognised.
Reasons To Register Your Relationship
Apart from making your relationship legally recognisable, there are various reasons to register a de facto relationship. These include: –
- If the relationship does not meet the time requirement for legal de facto rights in NSW
- You wish to make plans for Wills, superannuation funds or any other plans for de facto partner
When can you register your de facto relationship in NSW?
You can apply to register the relationship, if: –
- Both parties are over 18 years of age;
- At least one of the parties resides in NSW;
- Neither one of the parties is in a registered relationship;
- Neither one of the parties is married or related; and
- Neither one of the parties is in a relationship with another person
De Facto Rights In NSW: Property Settlement
De facto rights in NSW are the same as married couples’ rights when it concerns property settlement.
In that, de facto couples can apply in court, and seek entitlements following separation – much like divorced couples. To do so, however, there are certain criteria that the de facto couple in question need to fulfil.
When making an application to court, the de facto couple need to satisfy at least one of these points: –
- They were in a de facto relationship for at least two years.
- There is a child of the de facto relationship.
- The de facto relationship was registered in a state or territory.
- When property and assets are assessed, it is found that one party has made significant contributions, and that if an order is not issued, it would be a serious injustice to that party.
Once any of the above criteria has been established, the de facto couple must then satisfy the court that:
- There was a genuine de facto relationship between them which has now broken down; and
- There is geographical connection to the jurisdiction, i.e., in this case NSW.
Upon breakdown of the relationship, one may have de facto relationship entitlements, also known as de facto breakup entitlements to their partner’s property, or any property of the relationship. Property can include various things like: –
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Business assets
- Shares and other forms of investment
- Personal property – like cars
De Facto Rights In NSW: Child Support Or Spousal Support
Upon breakdown of a de facto relationship, similar to divorce cases, claims for spousal maintenance and/or child support can be made.
Depending on the financial circumstances, and requirements, the court will deal with each de facto relationship on a case by case basis.
Under de facto rights in NSW, parenting orders will be relevant for de facto couples with children.
Upon separation, both parties have the right to be involved in matters concerning parenting arrangements.
Similar to all family law cases, the court will consider the best interests of the child while considering any parenting arrangement requests. If both parties are able to formulate a plan, they don’t need to approach the court.
In case of disagreements, they will need to try dispute resolution approaches before taking the matter to court. If not, the court will make parenting orders – based on what’s best for the child – which will be legally binding.
Binding Financial Agreement
As part of de facto rights in NSW, a couple can make a binding financial agreement or BFA.
Similar to a prenuptial agreement, upon the breakdown of a de facto relationship, a BFA will specify the division of assets and liabilities; and provision of spousal support and superannuation.
How Can JB Solicitors Help?
The expert family lawyers at JB Solicitors will help you understand de facto rights in NSW. If you have any concerns regarding property settlement and asset division, it is best to seek legal guidance.
Our friendly family lawyers have a wealth of experience in dealing with legal matters following the breakdown of a de facto relationship.
Whether you wish to know more about your de facto rights in NSW, or draw up BFAs, or seek legal guidance for resolving parenting-related disputes, our lawyers are here to help.
Our fixed-fee pricing for family law gives you a clear sense of the costs from the start. We value our clients, and are dedicated to satisfying clients’ needs, and strive to reach desired results.
Get in touch with our compassionate family lawyers today.