An Overview of De Facto Relationship Separation Entitlements

If you are not sure about your de facto relationship separation entitlements specially if you’re not familiar with how family court in Sydney works, this article will help illuminate what you’ll need to understand.

Ensuring that splitting your assets is done fairly is important – whether you’re deciding on who will take the car, home or dog, this can be a stressful process. Being organised and doing your research can help make the process easier and ensure that you get your fair share following a split.

Here is everything you need to know:

Do you need a court order?

After you split, you will need to reach an agreement with your previous partner regarding how your debts and assets will be divided. This can be done without the need to go to court, but only if you do it fewer than 2 years following the split. If you take longer than 2 years you will need court approval. But if you cannot agree upon de facto relationship separation entitlements together, you might want to get a court order. In this event, the court decides the best way to split the property. They might also assess if spousal maintenance should be paid.

How to get a court order

If you do want to get a court order, this should be done by applying through the family court. Next, they will make financial orders, assuming at least 1 requirement of the following has been met:

  • You had been together for more than two years
  • A party made a great non-financial or financial contribution which should be accounted for fairly
  • You and your ex-partner gave birth to a child.

These de facto relationship separation entitlements requirements may vary depending on the territory or state you live in, so be sure to check the laws that apply to you.

What ‘property’ means, legally

Property refers to any debts and assets held in joint or individual names. De facto relationship separation entitlements involve property acquired after to or before the split, such as:

  • An apartment or house
  • Personal or household items (e.g. appliances, books or furniture)
  • Vehicles (including boats)
  • Credit card or home loan debts
  • Investments
  • Superannuation

Understanding superannuation


The de facto relationship separation entitlements laws that apply to your territory or state can affect what happens to your super after a split. For instance, you may be able to get some of your ex-partner’s super, and vice versa. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you can easily access your super – there are strict laws and policies around gaining access to super. You usually have to wait until you are older.

Other things to consider

Other factors that could affect your de facto relationship separation entitlements range from the following:

  • The contributions and assets provided or owned by each party (this can include gifts, household jobs, salary and more)
  • What your finances will look like after you formally split
  • What adjustments you may need to perform in order to adapt
  • Childcare arrangements and who will pay how much for the child’s care
  • If you have a will, check whether your previous partner is still a beneficiary.

You may want to get legal advice for your situation. Seeking support from a good solicitor can give you peace of mind and help you get an optimal financial outcome following a split. Getting legal support for your de facto relationship separation entitlements might cost money, but in the long run it could potentially save you money. There are a number of free online resources you can use to help you, as well as websites to help you find a qualified advisor.