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De Facto Property Settlements: Essential Insights & Legal Support

Family law matters can often be emotionally charged and logistically complex, particularly when dealing with the intricacies of property settlements for de facto couples. Unlike married couples, de facto couples may face unique legal challenges when it comes to the division of assets, given the varied recognition of their relationship status in different jurisdictions. For this reason, obtaining proper legal representation from an experienced family law solicitor is essential to ensure your rights and interests are protected as you navigate this intricate process.

Today’s article will provide a detailed overview of property settlements for de facto couples, highlighting the relevant laws, eligibility criteria, and key processes involved. We will also discuss the importance of expert legal representation in these matters and how the dedicated team at Abbas & Co Lawyers can help safeguard your interests throughout the property settlement journey.

Property settlements for de facto couples in Australia are governed by the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), which provides the legal framework for the division of assets and financial resources between separating couples. However, understanding whether your relationship constitutes a de facto relationship in the eyes of the law is crucial when navigating property settlements. As such, different factors and criteria determine a couple’s eligibility for property settlement, making it a particularly intricate aspect of family law.

Relying on the expert guidance of Abbas & Co Lawyers’s experienced family law solicitors can be invaluable as you tackle the challenges of property settlements in a de facto relationship. Our team is dedicated to protecting your rights and interests, providing personalised and comprehensive legal support throughout this complex process.

1: Establishing De Facto Relationship Status

Before engaging in property settlement negotiations, it is essential to determine if your relationship is considered a de facto relationship under Australian law. De facto relationships are defined as relationships where two individuals live together on a “genuine domestic basis” but are not married or closely related. Various factors are taken into account in assessing the nature of a de facto relationship, including:

1. Duration of the relationship

2. Nature and extent of the couple’s cohabitation

3. Existence of a sexual relationship

4. Financial dependence or interdependence

5. Pooling of financial resources

6. Commitment to a shared life

7. Ownership, use, and acquisition of the couple’s property

8. Care and support of any children

It is crucial to obtain expert advice from a family law solicitor to determine if your relationship qualifies as a de facto relationship in the eyes of the law, as different criteria may apply depending on your circumstances and the state or territory in which you reside.

2: The Property Settlement Process for De Facto Couples

De facto couples are entitled to seek a property settlement under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) if they meet specific eligibility criteria. Generally, couples must have been living together for at least two years, or have a child together, or have made substantial contributions to the relationship. The process of property settlement for de facto couples involves several essential steps:

1. Identifying and valuing the property pool: This includes all assets, liabilities, and financial resources owned by the couple, either individually or jointly, at the time of separation.

2. Assessing both parties’ contributions: The court will consider financial, non-financial, homemaker, and parenting contributions made by each party throughout the relationship.

3. Evaluating both parties’ future needs: Factors such as age, health, income, childcare responsibilities, and future employability may impact each party’s ability to support themselves independently.

4. Ensuring a just and equitable outcome: The court will ultimately distribute the property in a manner it considers fair for both parties, taking into account all the relevant factors.

Given the complex and emotionally charged nature of property settlements for de facto couples, engaging an experienced family law solicitor is crucial in ensuring you receive comprehensive advice and representation throughout the process.

3: Negotiating a Property Settlement Agreement

Negotiating a property settlement agreement without the involvement of the court can not only save time and resources but also help maintain amicable relations between the parties involved. Some common negotiation methods include:

1. Informal agreements: Couples can discuss and decide upon the division of property independently, without the involvement of a solicitor. However, it is recommended that a solicitor review any informal agreement to ensure it is legally sound.

2. Mediation: A neutral mediator can help facilitate constructive communication between the parties, ultimately aiming to reach a mutually acceptable settlement agreement.

3. Collaborative law: In this process, both parties, along with their solicitors, work cooperatively to reach a negotiated property settlement agreement in a non-adversarial manner.

Once an agreement is reached, it is vital to formalise the agreement by lodging a Consent Order with the Family Court or drafting a Binding Financial Agreement, depending on the circumstances. Trust the experienced team at Abbas & Co Lawyers to guide and represent you in the negotiation process, helping you achieve a fair and equitable property settlement agreement.

4: When to Seek Legal Assistance

The process of property settlement for de facto couples can be fraught with legal complexities and emotional challenges. Seeking the advice and representation of an experienced family law solicitor is particularly beneficial in the following situations:

1. Uncertainty about the nature of your relationship: If you are unsure whether your relationship is considered a de facto relationship under Australian law, a solicitor can guide you through this assessment.

2. Difficulty valuing assets: Professional legal help can ensure that all assets and liabilities are accurately identified and valued.

3. Disagreements on contributions or future needs: A solicitor can help present your case and negotiate the best possible outcome, considering both parties’ contributions and needs.

4. High stakes: If substantial assets are involved, expert legal representation may be vital in protecting your financial interests.


Navigating the complexities of property settlements for de facto couples can be challenging, so trust the expert guidance and support of the experienced family law solicitors at Abbas & Co Lawyers. Our team is dedicated to protecting your rights and interests in property settlement matters, providing personalised and comprehensive legal support every step of the way. With Abbas & Co Lawyers by your side, you can confidently face the challenges of de facto property settlements and achieve a fair and equitable outcome that secures your financial future.

To ensure your interests are protected in property settlements as a de facto couple, reach out to the skilled and experienced family lawyers in Bankstown at Abbas & Co Lawyers for personalised advice and representation. Contact us today to begin your journey towards a successful property settlement.

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