De Facto Relationships

If you are over the age of 18 and live together with your partner in a “marriage-like” way, then your relationship may be recognised as a “de facto relationship”.

The family law process in Western Australia now enables most couples in same sex relationships to access an equivalent range of solutions in the Family Court in respect to financial matters to those presently available to married and de facto couples.

When separating from a de facto partner, a common problem is how to divide the assets accumulated during the relationship. In Western Australia, the law for de facto asset division is similar to that of married couples, except in respect of superannuation.

Parties can formalise the division of their assets through consent agreement, Court Order or by a binding financial agreement.

In order to start proceedings for property settlement, you must be able to show that:

  • You have been in a de facto relationship for at least two years; or
  • There is a child to the relationship under 18 years, and failure to make a property settlement order would cause a serious injustice to the person caring for the child; or
  • The person applying for the order made substantial financial and/or non-financial contributions to the relationship and failure to make a property settlement order would cause serious injustice to that person;


  • One or both of the parties to the application must be resident in Western Australia the day the application is made; or
  • Both parties have to reside in Western Australia for one third of their relationship, or made substantial contributions to property in this State.

Any application for property settlement has to be made no later than 2 years after the date of your separation.

It is important that you obtain comprehensive legal advice in respect of your entitlements and responsibilities when your relationship breaks down.

If you are looking to speak to a family lawyer in Perth about your de facto relationship, please contact our office to speak to an experienced solicitor.