What is a De facto Relationship


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What is a De facto relationship ?.

A simple answer to this might be that a De facto relationship is effectively a married couple but without the legal paperwork.

The basic Australian laws defining a De facto relationship are outlined as two people, who may be of the same or opposite sex, who have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

What is the difference between a de facto relationship and marriage?.

A married couple have a marriage certificate
A De facto couple do not have a marriage certificate, but appear to everyone as a married couple, ie:

  • you are committed to a shared life to the exclusion of all others.
  • your relationship is genuine and continuing.
  • you live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.

De Facto Relationship for Government Benefits.

Centrelink considers a person to be in a de facto relationship from the time they commence living with another person as a member of a couple.

De facto relationship according to Family Law Act 1975.

A de facto relationship is defined in Section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975. The law requires that you and your former partner, who may be of the same or opposite sex, had a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis. However, your relationship is not a de facto relationship if you were legally married to one another or if you are related by family.


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After two years, each De Facto partner is considered to be an equal owner of the couples property, in the same way as a married couple.
Source: www.familycourt.gov.au

De facto relationship according to the Australian Immigration Department.

You and your partner are in a de facto partner relationship, eligible for a Partner Visa if all of the following applies:

  • You are not legally married to each other.
  • You are committed to a shared life to the exclusion of all others.
  • Your relationship is genuine and continuing.
  • You live together or do not live separately and apart on a ‘permanent‘ basis.
  • You are not related by family.
  • Your relationship can be with someone of the same or different sex.
  • Usually, your de facto relationship must have existed for at least 12 months immediately before you apply for the visa.

Time spent dating, or in an online relationship, does not count as being in a de facto relationship.

Source: www.homeaffairs.gov.au

Registered Relationships for Immigration.

A De Facto relationship can be registered with the State that you live in. This registration can be used by Immigration to reduce the period that a de facto couple must wait before applying for a Partner Visa.

Registering a Relationship in Australia needs to be done in the State that you live in, or at least one member of the couple lives in.

Each Australian state has its own rules on this.

Some need both parties to live in their state, while others can register the relationship, even if one lives overseas.

More about a Registered Relationship in Australia.

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