De Facto
New South Wales

/Nsw/Defacto/ndef1.htx What is a de facto relationship?


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What is a de facto relationship?

The term "de facto relationship" is defined in the Property (Relationships) Act.

Since June 1999, the definition has been widened to cover ALL relationships between two adults (over the age of 18) who:

This means that homosexual couples are now covered by this law.

What issues are relevant?

The law lists a number of issues that must be considered in assessing whether a de facto relationship exists. These include:

Domestic relationships

The new law also refers to domestic relationships. It defines these as:

A domestic relationship therefore includes relationships between siblings, and parents and children.

If you are in a domestic relationship you have the same rights under this new law in relation to maintenance and property division as a person in a de facto relationship.

Why is it important?

It can be important to know whether there is a de facto relationship because the law treats de facto couples differently to married couples in areas such as:

Are all de facto relationships covered?

Your rights to maintenance from your partner, and to apply for property division, depend firstly on whether the law sees your relationship as a de facto relationship. Some of the circumstances considered include:

What about social security?

The Social Security Act does not use the words "de facto". Instead it has a specific criteria to decide whether two people are a "member of a couple".

This criteria touches on all aspects of the relationship, including:

Read this: This fact sheet is intended to be general information about the law in New South Wales. It is not substitute for legal or other professional advice. Lawscape Communications P/L does not accept responsibility for loss to any person, who either acts or does not act because of this fact sheet.

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