De Facto Relationships - What law applies to a de facto relationship in the event of separation?
For the Family Law Act to apply to disputes about property and spousal maintenance following the breakdown of a de facto relationship you must have been in a relationship for a total of at least two years.
If you do not meet this requirement, the Act may still apply if one of the following conditions are met:
• One party made substantial contributions and a failure to make an order will result in a serious injustice;
• There is a child of the relationship;
• The relationship was registered.
State law applies if you separated before 1 March 2009 and both parties do not choose to “opt in” to the Family Law Act. State law also applies to Western Australia.
What constitutes separation is:
• An intention to separate. The intention need not be mutual;
• The communication of that intention to the other party. The communication must be unambiguous and unconditional;
• Acting upon the decision to separate.