De facto

Relationships

Does the law recognise unmarried relationships?

The law generally recognises two different types of relationships between unmarried people who live together.

If you are living together with someone as part of a couple, the law may, depending on the circumstances and the length of time you have lived together, recognise your de facto relationship and your rights will often be exactly the same as if you were married.

If you are living with someone and providing them with free care or domestic support (or if they do the same for you), the law may recognise this as a “close personal relationship” and also gives you certain rights.

For instance, if you are in a de facto relationship or a close personal relationship and the other person in the relationship dies without a will, you may be entitled to a share of their estate. If they die and have not provided for you in their will, you may be entitled to make a claim for financial support from their estate.

You may even have the right to claim workers compensation if they die on the job, as well as the right to receive financial support or social security.

If you are living with someone else and you are uncertain about your rights, your solicitor can advise you of your legal rights. 

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