Home » Services » Property » De Facto Relationships

De Facto Relationships

At Cominos Family Lawyers,  we provide family law advice and representation to people whose de facto relationships (including same sex) has ended. If you find yourself in this situation and have separated from your partner, then we can assist you with all custody and parenting arrangements, financial matters, spousal support and surrogacy or adoption issues.

In our experience, people whose de facto relationship (includes same sex) has ended often want to know the answers to the following questions:

What is the meaning of a de facto relationship?

A person is in a de facto relationship with another person if:

  • they are not legally married
  •  not related to each other
  • they live together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis
  • can be a same sex relationship

How to tell if you are in a de facto relationship?

When there is an argument about the existence of a de facto relationship, the Court works this out by exploring any or all of the following:

  1. the duration of the relationship;

2. the nature and extent of their common residence;

3.whether a sexual relationship exists;

4.the degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between                them;

5.the ownership, use and acquisition of their property;

6. the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;

7.whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory as a prescribed kind           of relationship;

8.the care and support of children;

Will I be treated differently because I am not married?

The answer is no. The Family Court has the power to make orders that adjust property between same sex or de facto couples who have separated in exactly the same way that it deals with marriages that have ended.

How long do I have to sort out my parenting and financial matters?

If your de facto or same sex relationship is over, then you  have two (2) years from the time of your separation, to sort out your property and financial matters.  If the two (2) year limitation period has expired, you may request leave from the Court to file an Application for property adjustment or you may do so with consent from your former partner.

I am worried about the custody of my children, what can I do?

If you are a parent and your child custody arrangements have not been sorted within the two ( 2) year limitation period, this is not a problem, you are able to bring your parenting applications to be heard before the Court, because there is no limitation period for children’s matters.

However, where children are involved, going to Court must be the very last option and only after all other alternative dispute resolution options have been exhausted or the matter is extremely urgent or unsuitable for mediation or collaborative family law.

We are experts at all child custody matters, and with our Principal Lawyer Pamela Cominos being an Independant Children’s Lawyer and a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, she brings a wealth of  deep knowledge and experience to all complex , difficult and challenging child custody matters.

If you would like to make an appointment with Pamela Cominos or any one of our Senior Family Lawyers, please contact us today on 02 8999 1800 or email


News & Resources