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De Facto Relationship Lawyers Adelaide 

A de facto relationship exists where two persons (regardless of gender) are living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. The term de facto does not apply to legally married couples.

Couples can now register their de facto relationship in Adelaide, which can have benefits should that couple later separate, or one spouse pass away.

Parties to a de facto relationship can have financial matters determined in largely the same way as married couples. The main difference being that you must apply for financial orders within two years of the breakdown of your relationship. Applications after this time require the Court’s permission to apply, adding further cost and uncertainty.

Were you in a de facto relationship?

We can advise if you were in an eligible de facto relationship.

Generally speaking, we look at the following aspects:

  • How long was your relationship?f
  • Was there a child of the relationship?
  • Where did you live during your relationship?
  • What emotional and financial dependence did you have with one another?
  • How were assets and liabilities acquired, used and disposed of?
  • How did you represent yourselves to family and friends?

What should I consider if I separate from my de facto partner?

 We recommend that you obtain advice about financial matters early. You do not need to wait a year before tackling these issues. In fact, it is often simpler, easier and cheaper to resolve these issues as soon as possible after separation. This avoids backtracking and possible disputes about how money was spent after separation. For more information about property settlements click here.

Remember the 2-year time limit for financial orders mentioned above. Time can quickly slip by if you are not diligent.

We also recommend that you obtain advice regarding parenting arrangements for children early. Any set arrangements can sometimes prove difficult to change, especially for younger children. For more information about child custody issues click here or for child support issues click here.

To find out more about your rights regarding a de facto relationship contact an experienced Scammell & Co. family lawyer.

We can meet at any of our 4 offices located throughout South Australia including Adelaide CBD, Port Adelaide, Walkerville and Gawler. Call or email us today to speak with a lawyer about your circumstances, or to book an appointment at an office convenient to you.

FAQs Click on the questions below to reveal the answer.

How do I make an application to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court?

It is prudent to obtain advice about whether your circumstances satisfy the de facto relationship criteria, and justify the orders you are seeking, before filing an application. If they do not, you risk paying the legal costs of the other side.

Just because you are in a de facto relationship does not mean there is an automatic 50/50 split of all assets.

Drafting Court forms require precision, clarity and tactical nous. You need to take great care in determining what you do and do not include.

How do I keep legal costs down?

At Scammell & Co. our experienced family lawyers are focused on achieving the best possible outcomes for clients, in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. Your legal costs can be minimised by:


  • Responding to correspondences from your lawyer in a timely and complete manner;
  • Sending your lawyer an agenda of your questions before you meet;
  • Making 2 copies of documents that need to be disclosed (one for your lawyer and one for your former partner or his/her lawyer);
  • Producing documents sought from your lawyer in the first instance; and
  • Considering whether the value of the matter in dispute outweighs the legal costs involved.

Free legal advice.

If you have some questions, want some advice or want to get the process underway, contact Scammell & Co. to arrange a meeting. In many cases (not all) the first 30 minutes of your first meeting is free. This can give time to outline your matter and for us to give you preliminary advice.

Our Offices

Port Adelaide

235 St Vincent Street,
Port Adelaide
South Australia 5015
(08) 8447 4466


86 Franklin Street,
South Australia 5000
(08) 8212 6875


107 Walkerville Tce,
South Australia 5081
(08) 8342 0300


8 Union Street,
South Australia 5118
(08) 8522 7160


By Appointment
(08) 8586 6764


By Appointment
(08) 8522 7160

After Hours0412 975 081 – Evenings, Weekends, Public Holidays
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