De Facto Relationships: The Definitive Family Law Guide

I think you will agree with us when we say:

The rules around De Facto Relationships can be REALLY confusing.

Or is it?

Because of the broad and wide definition of de facto relationship, many people don’t realise that are actually in one, and could potentially be eligible for a number of benefits.

In this article, we are going to clearly outline what a de facto relationship is, and what rights and responsibilities are available to couples.

De Facto Relationships

What Is A De Facto Relationship?

Definition

A de facto relationship is when you are in a relationship with another person as a couple and are living together on a genuine domestic basis.

According to Section 4AA of the Family Law Act (1975), to be considered in a de facto relationship you and your partner may be of the same or opposite sex, are not legally married to each other and are not related by family.

What Constitutes A De Facto Relationship In Australia?

Are you still left wondering “Am I In A De Facto Relationship?”

To determine if you are your partner are living together on a genuine domestic basis, the Court may look at:

  • The duration of your relationship.
  • Whether a sexual relationship exists.
  • The nature and extent of common residence.
  • Any finance dependence, interdependence or arrangements for financial support.
  • The ownership, use and acquisition of a couples property.
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life.
  • Whether the relationship is or was registered.
  • The care and support of children.
  • The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

A de facto relationship is not achieved through any formal ceremony like marriage, but automatically applies when two people meet the criteria. The Family Law Act recognises that a party could be in multiple de facto relationships, or that a person who is married could be a party to de facto property proceedings.

Legally you may still be considered to be in a de facto relationship if (for example):

  • One or both of you are still legally married to someone else.
  • One of bother of you are also in another de facto relationship.
  • You are in a committed relationship with your partner but you do not live together on a full time basis.
De Facto Relationship In Australia
De Facto Relationship If Not Living Together

Can We Be In De Facto Relationship If We Are Not Living Together?

Whether or not a couple lived together is only one factor that the Court considers when determining whether a couple is in a de facto relationship.

Couples do not necessarily have to have been living together on a full time or even half time basis to be considered in a de facto relationship. The Court will only consider whether a couple lived together as one of many factors that indicate that a de facto relationship exists or existed.

How Long Do You Have To Be In A De Facto Relationship?

Years

The Court will consider a couple to be in a de facto relationship if they have been together for at least two years.

This can be either one continuous 2 year period or made up of more than one separate period, but when added together the separate periods total 2 years.

What Is A Registered Relationship?

A registered relationship provides legal recognition for a couple, regardless if they are heterosexual or same-sex partners, by registration of the relationship.

De Facto couples can register their relationship with the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Relationship Eligibility

Adults who are in a relationship as a couple, regardless of their gender, can apply to register their relationship.

A relationship cannot be registered if either partner is:

  • Under 18 years old
  • Married
  • In another registered relationship
  • In a relationship as a couple with another person, or
  • If they are related by family.

A couple does not have to live together in order to register their relationship.

In NSW, so long as one partner lives in NSW, you can apply to register your relationship in NSW.

De Facto Relationship Eligibility

Should We Register Our De Facto Relationship?

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Benefits Of Registering Your De Facto Relationship

Registering your relationship is an easy and inexpensive way to formalize your de facto status and allows you and your partner to formally express your commitment to one another.

There are legal benefits as well, including:

  • Your relationship will be legal recognised. You don’t have to satisfy any other criteria to prove you are in a de facto relationship.
  • The relationship certificate acts as proof of your de facto status for legal purposes and to satisfy government agency requirements.
  • May allow you to receive tax, Centrelink or superannuation benefits.
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Drawbacks Of A Registered Relationship

Unfortunately, registration of a de facto relationship is not available Australia wide.

Currently, the only states that allow you to register for a de facto relationship are New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, the ACT, and Tasmania.

Currently, registration of a de facto relationship is not available in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

De Facto Relationship Registration: How To Apply

Want to register your relationship?

Couples who want to register their relationship don’t have to provide documentation as evidence or proof of their relationship.

To apply, you and your partner must make a statutory declaration stating that you both:

  • Wish to register the relationship.
  • Are in a relationship together.
  • Are not married or in another relationship as a couple with another person.
  • You are not related to each other by family.
  • You are not in another registered relationship either in NSW or in another Australian juristisiction.
  • That at least one of you resides in NSW

You will be required to provide proof of identity for both yourself and your partner. Often there is a registration fee.

Warning: It is an offense to make a false statutory declaration, knowing the content is untrue and to provide false and misleading information in such a context. False declarations can result in penalties of up to 7 years imprisonment.

After you have made your application, there will be a 28-day cooling off period in which you or your partner can withdraw the application.

Click Here For The NSW ‘Application To Register A Relationship’ Documents

How To Apply For De Facto Relationship Registration
NSW Relationship Registration Certificate Sample

Registered Relationship Certificate

After the 28 days cooling off period, the Registrar will register you and your partner’s relationship and issue both of you with a relationship certificate.

This certificate gives a couple legal recognition as a de facto couple for the purposes of NSW legislation.

As a registered couple, you will be able to reply on the registration certificate to access various entitlements, services, and records.

Registered Relationship Certificate Costs

In NSW, Restigration costs $213 which includes a standard certificate. To revoke a relationship it will cost $80 and an additional $50 if you need a certificate. Always double check the current fees on the Birth, Deaths and Marriages website, as pricing is subject to change.

Notifying Centrelink Of Your Relationship

Are you receiving benefits or payments from Centrelink? You will need to notify Centrelink if you have entered into a de facto relationship.

This will be different to registered your relationship at the Department Of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Your will need to submit your Certificate of Registration Of Relationship to Centrelink as proof of your relationship.

Centrelink will consider a person to be partnered if they are:

  • Married
  • In a registered relationship.
  • In a de facto relationship.

Find out more information about Centrelink’s requirements for a de facto couples here.

Notifying Centrelink Of Your Relationship

Rights And Responsibilities Of De Facto Partners

Today, Australian law recognises that families and relationships can take on many different forms.

Whether you are married or not, de facto or a same-sex couple, you will have a number of legal rights and responsibilities depending on your relationship status.

What does it mean to be a partner in a de facto relationship?

If you are in a de facto relationship, your legal rights and responsibilities are often similar to a married couple, particularly with regards to property settlements.

For example, should one spouse pass way, the other may be entitled to:

  • A share of any property or assets not listed in any will of the deceased spouse under the Succession Act.
  • Compensation under workers compensation law if your partner dies while at, or due to work.
  • Financial assistance under the Succession Act.
  • Social Security under the Commonwealth Social Security Act.
  • Death benefits from a superannuation scheme.

You will also be able to apply for Binding Financial Agreements and other legal benefits from being in a recognised relationship. If the relationship breaks down, you will be able to protect your rights and claim spousal maintenance and superannuation ‘splits’.

More information on de facto separation below.

Partner in a de facto relationship
Binding Financial Agreement

Binding Financial Agreements For De Facto Relationships

Wondering what the de facto equivalent of a prenuptial agreement in Australia is?

A Binding Financial Agreement is a legal binding agreement between you and your partner. A Binding Financial Agreement will often cover the division of property between partners, superannuation and spousal maintenance if the relationship breaks down.

These agreements are often a good idea if you would like to keep control of your current assets when entering into a de facto relationship, or want to cover what should occur should the relationship break down.

Binding Agreements are available to both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

Find out more about Binding Financial Agreements here.

De Facto Relationship Proof

Proving A De Facto Relationship In Court

Since the introduction of the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and other Measures) Act 2008, de facto couples have been able to apply to the Family Law Courts for property settlement entitlements if the relationship breaks down.

However, unlike married couples, de facto couples must prove to the Court that a de facto relationship existed between the two parties. The Court will need to assess the legitimacy of the relationship first, before determining whether any financial relief sought by an applicant should be granted.

The Court must be satisfied that a de facto exists as defined under the Family Law Act 1975.

There are three main requirements:

  • The two parties should not be legally married.
  • The two parties are not related by family.
  • The two parties have had a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine basis.

The third requirement is often a point of confusion and dispute. In order for the Court to determine that two people had a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine basis they will look at a number of factors:

Proving A De Facto Relationship In Court
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The Duration Of The Relationship

The court will look at when the couple first met and when they stared living together.

Whether A Sexual Relationship Existed

Nature & Extent Of The Common Residence

If the couple had separate residences the court will assess:

  • The extent to which they had belongings at each others residence.
  • How often they spent nights at each other’s residence.
  • Whether either of them had mail for them sent to the other’s address.
  • Did either of the parties record the others address as their own on anything?

The Degree Of Financial Dependence, Interdependence & Support

The court will assess:

  • Any loans between the two parties?
  • Any personal guarantees?
  • What did they pay for that benefitted the other?
  • Any joint bank accounts, loans or financial arrangements?
  • How were joint activities paid for?
  • How were joint consumables paid for?
  • If a property was leased, was it in both names?
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Ownership, Use & Acquisition Of Property

The court will assess:

  • Whose furniture is in the residence?
  • Are things used mutually?
  • Anything of one person’s used by the other regularly?
  • Anything acquired jointly?
  • Anything significantly acquired sole by one person only?
  • Any contributions to property owned by the other?
  • Any non-financial contributions to property owned by the other?

Degree Of Mutual Commitment To A Shared Life

The court will assess:

  • Were they committed to a shared life together?
  • Did they regard the other as committed to a shared life together?
  • Did they have any long term plans?
  • Did they have holidays together or separate?
  • Were they affectionate together in front of others?
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Whether The Relationship Was Registered

  • Can be registered in QLD, NSW, VIC, ACT and TAS.
  • For same-sex couples (apart from registration) can have civil unions in ACT, TAS, NSW and VIC
  • Does Centrelink records regard them as a de facto couple or is the relationship registered with them?

The Care & Support Of Children

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The Reputation & Public Aspects Of The Relationship

The court will assess:

  • Were they affectionate together in front of others.
  • Extent to which they attended social events together.
  • Did they have others stay with them overnight in their joint or separate residences.
  • Extent to which they had met each other’s family.
  • Extent to which they attended the other’s family events (e.g. Christmas, Birthdays, Anniversaries).
  • This will be found in corroborative evidence of others as how they viewed them.

While these factors are helpful for the Court to determine the legitimacy of the de facto relationship, not all of them are essential or necessary to prove a relationship existed.

Instead, the Family Law Courts are entitled to attach any weight they deem appropriate to these factors in determining whether the parties had a relationship as a couple on a genuine domestic basis.

 Proving A De Facto Relationship To Centrelink

Proving A De Facto Relationship To Centrelink

A common question we get is “how can I prove my relationship to Centrelink?”

Similar to the courts, Centrelink will look at:

  • The nature of the household
  • The financial aspects of the relationship
  • The nature of the couples commitment to one another
  • Whether their is a sexual relationship between them
  • The social aspects of the relationship.

One of the main differences is Centrelink does not have a minimum time period that is applied to a relationship in order for it to be de facto. You and your partner will be considered in a de facto relationship from the time you start living together as a couple.

Centrelink assistance is beyond the scope of our services, however you can find more information at Humanservice.gov.au and Welfarerights.org.au. Alternatively, you can contact Human Services via telephone.

Separation: The End Of A De Facto Relationship

Separation in Family Law is the end of a marriage or de facto relationship. There is no need to register a separation under Australian Family Law.

However, a separation is a fact that must be proven if it is disputed by a former spouse at a later time. Therefore, it is a good idea to confirm the separation in writing. This can be as simple as a text message that can be saved, at or shortly after the time of separation.

Often in the case of property settlement in a de facto relationship, the particular date a separation occurred can impact the results greatly.

Separation: The End Of A De Facto Relationship

How To Cancel A Registered De Facto Relationship

To revoke a registered relationship, either yourself or your former spouse to apply.

It is not necessary for both of you to agree, however if only one of you is revoking the registration of your relationship, then you must provide proof that you have served notice to your former partner. If you cannot serve notice, the Registrar has discretion to dispense with the notice requirement.

After you have made your application to revoke your relationship, there is a cooling-off period of 90 days before the registration is revoked by the Registrar. This ensures that people do not lightly make a decision to end their relationship.

If one partner of a de facto couple dies, or gets married, then the registration of the relationship will be revoked by law.

Revoking Costs

In NSW, the fee to revoke your relationship with the Department of Birth, Deaths, and Marriages is $80. If you need a certificate as documentation then there is an addition fee of $53. These fees are subject to change so please double check the current fees on the Birth, Deaths and Marriages website.

Click here to revoke your registered relationship.

De Facto Relationship Separation Entitlements

Spousal Maintenance

You or your former de facto spouse may make an application for the other partner to pay spousal maintenance to them as financial support.

If you make a maintenance application, the court will assess you and your former partners relative financial positions and make an order of maintenance if:

  • A partner cannot adequately support themselves financially for reasons for health, caring for a child of the relations or other reasons.
  • The other spouse is able to financially support them.

Check out our detailed guide on Spousal Maintenance for more information.

Spousal Maintenance

Property Settlement

Are you unable to reach an agreement with your former partner about how assets will be divided between the two of you?

If you were a de facto couple and have separated you can make an application for a property settlement to the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court. This is also available to same-sex couples.

If you were in a de facto relationship, your application for property settlement must be made within 2 years of the breakdown of your relationship.

What Is Classed As Property?

Property is any assets and liabilities that are owned either by one or both partners. This includes real estate, investments, debts, and superannuation. You can find a full list of what is classed as property here.

Distribition Of Property: How Will The Courts Decide How Our Property Should Be Divided?

There are four steps when determining how a couples property will be divided. The Court process of dividing assets and finances includes:

  1. Establishing what is owned by you and your partner.
  2. Assess what contributions and you former partner have made to the total asset pool.
  3. Consider the future financial needs of both parties.
  4. Assessing the effect of a proposed property settlement.

Once the Court has decided which assets should be given to each party, it will make a Court order about how this can occur.

For a detailed outline for how your property will be distributed check out our property settlement process guide.

Distribution Of Property: How The Courts Will Decide How Property Should Be Divided?
De Facto Property Laws
New De Facto Property Laws Overview

It has only been recent that de facto couples have been included under the Family Law Act. Before this change, each State had separate and quite different laws covering property and maintenance matters. Now both married and de facto couples are covered under the Family Law Act.

The new family laws apply to any de facto relationships that broke down on or after the 1st of March 2009. However, you can apply to the Family Court for a property settlement if your relationship broke down before this date and if you and your former partner agree in writing to have the new laws apply.

Any agreement must be in writing and signed by both partners after they have both obtained independent legal advice. If you choose to do this, both you are your former spouse will need a signed statement from your lawyer that you have received legal advice. If you need a lawyer, contact us today.

Where Do They Apply (Which States?)

These new laws apply to de facto couples who have lived for at least one-third of their relationship in NSW, VIC, QLD, TAS, the ACT, NT, Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, or in SA from 1 July 2010.

De facto Separation Agreements

Have you and your former partner come to an agreement how your assets will be divided, without going to Court? If so, it is always a good idea to consult a lawyer about registering your agreement with the Family Courts as a Consent Order.

If you do this, it will mean that neither you, nor your former partner, will be able to change your mind at a future date.

De facto couples are also able to create aBinding Financial Agreement outlining how they will manage their assets between each other. This can be done before, during or after the relationship.

Always speak to a lawyer before making such an agreement. The agreement must comply with a number of formal requirements and both parties must receive independent legal advice in order for the agreement to be a binding contract.

Reaching an agreement with your de facto spouse covers many advantages including:

  • You get to decide who gets what.
  • The financial and emotional burdens of legal proceedings are greatly reduced.
  • If you have children, your continuing relationship as parents will likely work better.
  • You can move forward and create a new life for yourself.
  • Improved communication with your ex-partner, and better able to resolve future disputes.
De Facto Separation Agreement Template

For your conveniance we have included a number of templates for you to use when creating a separation agreement.

  • Sample Finance Agreement For De Facto Relationships
  • Other sample agreements (scroll to the bottom)
  • Please remember to consult a lawyer before agreeing to anything legally binding.

    De facto Separation Agreements

    Children Of The Relationship

    Like married couples, issues related to a child of a de facto couple falls under the Family Law Act.

    The Family Law Act places parental responsibility on both parents, regardless of whether they are separated or in a new relationship. Parental responsibility refers to the duties, powers and responsibilities, and authority which parents have to their children.

    Child Support

    Child support laws apply to de facto spouses and, since July 1 2009, same-sex parents. This includes children who were adopted or born through assisted conception.

    You will be seen as parent with a child support liability if:

    • The child’s birth certificate includes your name.
    • There is a court finding you are the parent.
    • You have signed and stated that you are the parent in a statutory declaration.

    Under the Child Support (Assessment) Act, the primary career of a child from a de facto relationship can make a claim for child support from the other parent.

    The Child Support Agency is responsible for determining the amount of support that should be provided and administering your child support arrangements. How much child support paid is dependent on each parent’s income, the number of children, and their living arrangements.

    For more information on Child Support, visit our Child Support Guide

    It is possible to create a private child support agreement with you former de facto spouse, without going through the Child Support Agency.

    However, as with any agreement, it recommended that you consult a family lawyer who is experienced in child support agreements and can assist you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your children.

    Child Support In A De Facto Relationship
    Child Custody After A De Facto Relationship
    Child Custody

    Similar to when a married couple divorces, de facto partners will be required to make a formal agreement regarding the custody of any child of the relationship. This can be settled through an agreement between the parents, or through the Family Law Courts.

    Decisions regarding children should always consider what is in the best interest of the child.

    A complete child custody arrangement will usually include:

    • Where the child will live.
    • Who they will spend time with.
    • Who they will communicate with.
    • Who will make major long-term decisions for them.

    An agreement on child custody is usually reached through negotiations between parents, often with the help of mediation or counselling services.

    For more information on Child Custody, visit our Child Custody Guide.

    It is often important to speak to a lawyer about any formal agreements regarding your children. Often details such as where the child will live, and where they spend their time can have an impact on property matters and child support. A lawyer can often help in drawing agreements and assist in the best outcome for your whole family.

    Family Dispute Resolution & Mediation

    Family Dispute Resolution (also known as mediation) is required before you start any Court proceedings about children.

    In a family law case, before you apply to the courts for parenting or financial orders, you must make a genuine effort to resolve your disputes through resolution services.

    The only exception to this is if your case is urgent or involves exceptional factors such as family violence. In order for a case about a child can go ahead, the Court will usually require a certificate from a family dispute resolution practitioner.

    Dispute resolution services are affordable and often quick options for resolving family disputes and are covered by the Australia Government.

    They are favoured by the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia because they allow you and your former partner greater control and management of the process, resulting in a better outcome for all.

    Where possible, seek legal advice before deciding what the best option for your dispute is. A family lawyer will be able to help you understand your rights and responsibilities before entering any agreement.

    They can walk you through the process and explain the laws that apply to your case. They can also assist you and your former partner to reach an agreement without the need to go to court.

    Family Dispute Resolution & Mediation

    De Facto Relationships vs Marriage: What’s the difference?

    How a modern household is made up is a lot different to what it use to be a generation ago. Attitudes to marriage and divorce around Australia continue to change.

    As a result, the definition of spousal relationships in Australian law has changed to accommodate these changes.

    Today, de facto couples are entitled to many of the same rights and claims as married couples when it comes to Family Law matters.

    This includes property and financial settlement and arrangements for the children of the relationship.

    While the benefits of marriage over de facto relationships are decreasing, there are a number of small differences between the rights of a de facto couple and a married couple.

    De Facto Relationships vs Marriage: What’s the difference?
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    Requirements To Seek Property Settlement Or Spousal Maintenance

    In order for a de facto partner to seek an order for property settlement, the Court must be satisfied by a number of factors. These factors include:

    • The period of the relationship was for at least 2 years; or
    • There is a child of the relationship; or
    • The relationship is, or was registered; or
    • That a failure to make an Order would result in serious injustice due to the significant contribution made by on party to the other.

    Married couples don’t have to go through this process and have immediate access to all relationship entitlements, protections and responsibilities. For a married couple, it is enough to have been married to be under the jurisdiction of the Court for property and spousal maintenance.

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    Time Limits For Commencing Proceedings

    When a relationship breaks down there are significant differences in the time a partner can make a claim against their former partner.

    A partner from a de facto relationship has two years from the breakdown of the relationship to make a property or spousal maintenance claim against their former spouse.

    Married couples have one year from their divorce being finalised to make an application for a property or maintenance order.

    However, couples were are or were married also have the option to agree to the extent of time in which to file property or spousal maintenance proceedings. The option currently does not exist for de facto couples under Australian Family Law.

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    Required Separation Before Seeking Orders

    According to the Family Law Act, in order for the Court to make an order regarding property settlement or spousal maintenance, the de facto relationship must have ended.

    However, for married couples, property or maintenance orders can be made, regardless if the marriage has ended or not. Couples who are still married, can apply to the Court for property or maintenance orders.

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    Recognition Of The Relationship

    One of the main benefits of marriage over de facto relationships is marriage is a widely recognised legal relationship.

    The criteria for establishing de facto status, and the rights ascribed to de facto partner, are different between the Australian states and between Australia and other nations.

    As changing attitudes towards relationships goes on, it is likely the difference in rights and responsibilities between married and de facto couples will continue to decrease.

    De Facto Relationships And Wills

    What Is A will?

    Definition

    A will is a written document signed by a person, that sets out who will be in charge of administering the person’s estate (known as the Executor) and who will receive the person’s assets (know as the Beneficiaries) when the person dies.

    If you are writing your will, your Executor can be anyone of your choosing. It can be your spouse, children, a friend, siblings, even your accountant or lawyer. You are entitled to have more than one Executor, and the Executor can be a Beneficiary of your estate.

    You can choose to name whoever you want as Beneficiaries to receive your assets. These people can include your spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, siblings, charities or any other person or organisation you wish to pass your assets to.

    Whether or not you are in a de facto relationship has no bearing on who you can and can’t include in your Will. The status of a relationship will only be important if a partner of the deceased wants to make a family provisions claim.

    De Facto Relationships And Wills

    De Facto Will Entitlements

    If you are deemed to be the spouse of the deceased then you will be entitled to a number of things under the Succession Act.

    A spouse is a person who was either married to the deceased person immediately before their death, or was part of a domestic partnership (which includes de facto relationships) immediately before their death. This does not include ex-spouses.

    A spouse’s entitlements, which as set out in Part 4.2 of the Succession Act 2006 includes:

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    The Deceased Had No Children

    If your former partner has no children, then you are entitled to the whole estate.

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    You & The Deceased Shared Children

    If you and your former partner had children together, then you will be entitled to the whole estate.

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    Joint Property Ownership

    If you and your former partner held property jointly, then the remainder of the property would pass to you automatically upon your partners death. The property will not be included as a part of the asset pool of the estate or the will.

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    Inheritance

    If assets are in your former partners name, and they leave them to you in their Will, then the assets will pass to you via the Will as an inheritance.

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    The Deceased Had Children That Weren’t Yours

    If your former spouse, had children to another person, then you would be entitled to:

    • Your partners person effects (defined in section 101), and
    • A statutory legacy of $350,000.00 plus adjustment for CPI from December 2005, and interest if the statutory legacy is not paid in full within one year of the date of death.
    • One-half of the remainder (if any) of the estate.
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    Laws Of Intestacy

    If the assets are in your partner’s name, and they die without leaving a Will, then the property will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy, which are stated in the Succession Act (NSW). As a de facto partner you will be eligible to make a family provisions claim. (Find out more below)

    What Are A De Facto Rights To A Property Estate If There Is No Will?

    Wondering what your de facto rights are after your partner’s death?

    In NSW, an eligible person can Contest a Will and make what is called a Family Provision claim if they have been left without adequate provision from a deceased estate.

    Since the changes of the Success Act (NSW) which came into force on 1 March 2009 there are six types of people who are eligible to make a family provisions claim. They are:

    1. A husband or wife.
    2. A person who was living in a de-facto relationship with the deceased person.
    3. Children, regardless of age.
    4. A former husband or wife.
    5. A person who was:
      • Fully or partly dependent on the deceased person.
      • A member of the deceased person’s household at any time.
    6. A person who was living in a “close personal relationship” with the deceased person.

    Ultimately it is best to speak to a lawyer as what you are entitled to can vary from case to case.

    Same Sex Couples

    Same Sex Couples Rights In Australia

    In Australia, sex-sex couples and their families receive the same entitlements and recognitions as heterosexual de facto couples and their families.

    In November 2008, the Government’s same-sex law packaged passed through Parliament. This reform removed same-sex de facto couples and their families from discrimination.

    These changes in the law mean that some same-sex couples and their families are now entitled to receive benefits previously not accessible to them. These entitlements included:

    Same Sex Couples Rights In Australia
    • Tax concessions.
    • Partner concession card benefits.
    • Superannuation benefits.
    • Bereavement benefits if a partner dies.
    • Lesbian relationships recognised as a qualifying relationship for Widow Allowance.
    • Access to the Medicare Safety Net.
    • Aged care.
    • Veterens’ entitlements.
    • War widow or widowers pension.
    • Immigration.
    • Citisenship.
    • Access to the Child Support Scheme.
    • De Facto Family Law Benefits.
    • Recognition as independent for Youth Allowance if in a same-sex relationship for over 12 month.
    • Social Security.
    • Family Assistance.
    • Access to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Safety Net.
    Is Gay Marriage Legal In Australia?

    Is Gay Marriage Legal In Australia?

    While LGBT rights in Australia have gradually progressed since the late 20th century, same-sex marriage is currently not available to couples in Australia.

    Same-sex marriage continues to be on the political agenda as part of a larger debate around the legal recognition of same-sex relationships and equality.

    At a federal level, 2008 and 2009 saw a number of reforms to provide equal entitlements and responsibilities for same-sex de facto couples. However, the institution of marriage is not yet available.

    While the differences in rights and obligations available to de facto couples and married couples is getting less and less, supporters of gay rights argue that this is not enough. In order for true equality, same-sex couples must have the right to marry.

    However, for some people in the community the concept of same-sex marriage is complex, controversial and raises many social, religious, moral and political questions.

    Can Same-Sex Parents Be Recognised As The Child’s Parents?

    Same-parents are able to be recognised as legal parents in relation to parenting matters and child support. Under family law, most children born to or adopted by same-sex couples will be recognised as children of both parents.

    Children of same sex couples can include:

    • Child born through assisted or artificial conception to lesbian couples.
    • Children adopted by same-sex couples.
    • Child born under certain surrogacy arrangements recognised under a state or territory scheme (this includes NSW).

    Same-parents are able to be recognised as legal parents in regards to parenting matters such as child custody and child support.

    Can Same-Sex Parents Be Recognised As The Child’s Parents?

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