Australian family law makes provision for different relationship types, including de facto relationships. A de facto relationship is a relationship between two adults of the opposite or same sex who live together on a genuine domestic basis and are not married or related.
De facto relationships are provided for under the Family Law Act in all states and territories, with the exception of Western Australia.
Under that law de facto couples are able to pursue property and financial settlements in the same way as married couples following their separation and access the same courts as married couples. The same applies to de facto couples with children as the Family Law Act places parental responsibility on both parents.
Whilst a significant proportion of couples in Australia live in a de facto relationship many do not understand their legal rights and responsibilities. For that reason, it is important you speak with an experienced family lawyer immediately following your separation.