In Western Australia, De Facto and same sex couples have almost the same rights as married couples.
Since 2002, De Facto and same sex couples in Western Australia who meet the criteria of being in a De Facto relationship under the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) can apply to the Family Court for assistance.
The definition of what is a De Facto relationship has changed and evolved over time as the Court recognise that there is a wide variety of relationships in which people live. However, the Court attempts to define key factors as to whether a De Facto relationship exists between two people, these may include the following:
It does not matter whether the people are of different sexes or of the same sex, or either person is legally married to someone else or in another De Facto relationship at the time.
To be able to make a De Facto property application to the Family Court of Western Australia:
The Court also needs to also be satisfied that there was a De Facto relationship for at least 2 years or if not, one of the following exceptions applies:
It is important to note that an application for De Facto or same sex property settlement must be brought within 2 years of the parties separating. Outside of this period, a party must seek leave to apply to the Court and show that hardship would be caused if leave were not granted.
If you believe that you meet the criteria for a property settlement under the De Facto or same sex relationship provisions or, even if you aren’t sure, then call us and we will be able to assist you with your matter.