Defacto Relationships - Melbourne, Victoria | MJ Legal
De facto relationships

De facto Relationships

You may be considered as being in a de facto relationship if you and your partner are living together and have a mutual commitment to sharing a life together.

Unlike a marriage, being in a de facto relationship doesn’t require you to register the relationship. In the unfortunate event where you are separating from your de facto partner, you may have claims against each other's property interest. If you share in the care of minor children, you may need to make parenting arrangements with your ex-partner.

If you are unsure whether your relationship qualifies as a de facto relationship or require help navigating a breakdown of the relationship, our lawyers can assist you to understand your rights.

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Our de facto relationship services

Revoking a De facto relationship

If your relationship has broken down, it is important that you start giving thought to your property and children at this stage.

Having a plan for how to separate your assets and care for the long term welfare of your children will avoid disputes escalating. This may help you avoid costly future litigation.

If you and your ex-partner can reach an agreement in relation to property and care arrangements for your children, you have 03 options to formalize this agreement:

  1. By entering into a binding financial agreement

  2. By executing and filing consent orders (for Property & Parenting Matters)

  3. By making a parenting plan

Following a breakdown of a relationship you may often struggle to see eye to eye with your ex-partner. Our lawyers at MJ Legal can help you take the emotions out and negotiate with the other party.

We can assist you with choosing the best option depending on your circumstances and advise you on your rights.

BFA before and during a relationship

Have you asked your partner to move in with you? Perhaps you are re-partnering following a previous divorce. Here is what you need to know about your property rights.

You and your partner may have your own assets or children from other relationships. You may each have superannuation balances or received inheritances. Entering into a BFA will allow each of you control how you want each of these assets to be treated as the relationship progresses.

A BFA can take into account how any future assets will be treated and which assets each party will retain in the unfortunate event of a relationship breakdown.

At MJ Legal we understand the sensitivity of such a topic. If you are considering a BFA but are unsure how to start a conversation with you partner, we can help.

Our lawyers will advise you on the various options at your disposal in entering into a BFA and highlight the pros and cons of such an agreement.

Challenging an allegation of a De facto relationship

Are you unsure if you are in a genuine de facto relationship? Has someone you were intimately seeing made an allegation against you, claiming that you were their de facto partner?

You cannot bring a claim against your ex-partner’s property unless you can prove that there was a mutual commitment to share a life together.

If you want to legally prove a genuine and continuing de facto relationship, you need to show that:

  • you shared household responsibilities with your ex-partner.

  • your friends and relatives are aware about your relationship.

  • there was a long-term commitment both personally and financially towards each other.

If you have recently separated but are unsure if your relationship met the standards of a De facto status, we can advise you.

Alternatively, if someone has brought a claim against you, but you do not believe you were in a de facto relationship our lawyers can guide you on how to defend yourself.

Understand your rights and enter into a genuine de facto relationship

Have your property agreement in place before you enter into a de facto relationship.

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Advantages of having a parenting plan and a financial agreement in place following the breakdown of your de facto relationship

  • A parenting plan specifies arrangements between the parties to manage the long term care and welfare of your minor children. 
  • If parties cannot agree on care arrangements, one party can initiate proceedings in court. 
  • Both parenting matters and property disputes may be addressed in one court application.
  • You need to apply to court for such orders within 2 years of the breakdown of your de facto relationship.


If you and your partner want to prove a genuine de facto relationship, parties may need to fulfill the following:

  1. Demonstrate that you share household responsibilities.
  2. Make your family, relatives, friends and the general public aware about your relationship. For instance, by attending social gatherings as a couple. 
  3. Indicate a long term commitment to one another.
  4. Prove that you share the financial responsibilities in relation to the relationship.

There is no set time period for the couple to live together to be considered as de facto partners.

However, generally for the parties to be considered under the Family Law Act 1975, parties must be either living together for 02 years or have a child from the relationship.

A genuine De facto relationship would be treated similar to a marriage. Your girlfriend has the right to bring a claim against your property depending on the length and the nature of the de facto relationship.

If you and your girlfriend have an agreement prior to entering into the de facto relationship, it will govern how properties of the relationship are treated.

If there is no pre-nuptial agreement you and your ex-partner can enter into a Binding financial agreement or a consent order pursuant to separation outlining the agreement for the division of property.

If negotiations between you and your ex-partner fail, one party may initiate a property application in court. The court would decide on the division of property on just and equitable grounds.