De Facto Relationship: Can My Girlfriend Take Half My House in Australia?

June 7, 2024    divorcelawyersperthwa
De Facto Relationship: Can My Girlfriend Take Half My House in Australia?

The Australian law and regulation system allows two consenting and adult people to live under the same roof without a nuptial affiliation. This cohabitation arrangement (commonly known as ‘living together’) is legally termed as a ‘de facto relationship.’ However, these arrangements are often treated as a “marriage-like” relationship and treated accordingly.

The data obtained from the most recent survey on household income and labor dynamics in Australia (HILDA) presents an interesting picture. According to it, 10.4% of all Australian couples are in a de-facto relationship, whereas 51.8% of them are married.

Couples living together and sharing costs have some rights over their assets (as common sense suggests); however, it also creates a loophole for gold diggers and scammers to get free possessions just by living with someone. In such circumstances, it is best to hire the top legal experts. Experienced de facto lawyers in Perth can assist in determining a legal way out of the confusion between child arrangement and property division and assist in all legal problems related to top de facto cases.

Understanding de facto relationships

A de facto relationship is an arrangement of living together on a genuine domestic basis between two agreeing and accepting partners. This definition is legally classified and accepted in the regions across Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, and others.

Under Australian legislation, opposite-gender and same-sex couples are included in the definition of de facto relationships.

However, couples in wedlock or persons related by family and living together will not fall in this classification.
Furthermore, a person married to another person of either gender can be in a de facto relationship with another individual they aren’t married to.

The unmarried couple has to live together for two years to be considered in a de facto relationship. However, if they have children or have considerable donations to joint property, the rule can be relinquished.

Any lawful argument relating to separation, child maintenance, and property settlement will fall under the regulations of the Family Law Act 1975, except in Western Australia [Family Law Act 1997 (WA) oversees the legal matters associated with de-facto relationships here].

Arguments concerning property and children settlement on separation

Australian legal system doesn’t have any fixed laws or regulations in place to resolve asset risk in de-facto relationships. The court will study each case distinctly, and the unique factors of the relationship will play their part in the decision-making process. One of the first aspects the court will determine is your eligibility under de facto property rights under the following factors:

  • Your marital status
  • Whether you engaged in sexual relations in the relationship
  • The period the couple has been together
  • The level of commitment to a mutually shared life.
  • Financial dependability
  • If your relationship is registered
  • The best interest of any offspring.
  • Utilization and titles of properties
  • Communal facets of the relationship, like children.
  • De-facto relationships may not be mutually exclusive.

Settlement of property rights

The couples can apply to the Australian Family Court under the Family Law Act if they wish to involve the court in the settlement of their de facto properties.

The court will determine each individual’s rights after considering the total value of the current assets, properties owned by each partner before the relationship, how much each contributed during the relationship, earning proficiencies, future needs, including childcare, and access to fiscal resources.

So, it will be the court’s decision whether or not your girlfriend is entitled to half of your real estate, and you have the option to appeal after the verdict.

Rights and responsibilities with children

Australian family law clearly states that children born to or adopted by de facto couples are recognized as children of both parents. The court will always consider the aspects where the best interest of the kids will prevail – including their visitation, time-spending rights, and which of the partners can keep the kids with them.
Ideally, both partners (who must be legally documented as parents) have to bear the tasks associated with child support responsibilities.


Being in a de-facto relationship doesn’t mean that your girlfriend can take half your property or house. There are quite a few things to consider in this regard. Going to court isn’t the only solution to problems related to de facto couples. They can discuss the issues among themselves harmoniously and arrive at a solution. The court can pass the decision by endorsing a consent order.
Our skilled divorce separation lawyers Perth team can help you find the correct course of action after filing the application or receiving a notice.

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