Separation for persons in de facto relationships

For persons who are in a de facto relationship, there is no need to make any application for a divorce order. If the parties to the de facto relationship had registered their relationship with the Queensland Births Deaths and Marriages office, then an application to deregister the relationship must me filed with that Government Department but beyond this, no further formal action is required.

Importantly for de facto couples, the twelve (12) month limitation period which occurs for married couples also extends to operate for de facto couples but for de factos, the limitation period runs for two (2) years and runs from the date of separation. Notably, the term “separation” is not defined anywhere in the Family Law Act but according to case law it is said to exist when every aspect of the de facto marital relationship has broken down. Consequently, there can be cases where the former de facto couple might presently agree that they are separated but disagree as to the date in past history when separation actually occurred. For de facto couples therefore, the need to have some formal record of the date of this separation and indeed the need to stay alert to the operation of the two (2) year limitation period is very important if it is the other spouse who has all or the predominate share of the assets.

Note: If your enquiry relates to:

  • Division of assets [property settlement];
  • Division of care arrangements for children;
  • Periodic financial support for yourself or your children;
  • Updating your Will or Superannuation Death Benefit Nominations

then please feel free to contact our office from where we can provide you with more information concerning these topics.

If your enquiry relates to separation from a formal marriage relationship, then please feel free to view our article on our website entitled separation and divorce for married couples.