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Can my de facto partner make a claim on my assets?

The question is often asked from De facto couples, wondering about the legal time limits that apply to their relationship, in particular regarding claim on assets from before the relationship started and those associated with making an application to the Court for a property settlement order.

A de facto partner can make a claim on the court only if the relationship lasted for a minimum of 2 years but it need not be a continuous 2 year period. It is important to note that de facto couples in Australia, do share the same rights as married couples under the law.

However, there is no automatic right to a share in property held by the other party.  Rather, the Family Law Act gives each party the right to apply to the Court, in order for the court to assess the matter and decide whether to divide property or other assets. 

The Court will make a decision and hand down Orders, which may entail a division of property between the parties, spousal maintenance, or orders with relation to parenting issues such as custody.