You may see the phrase‘common law wife/husband’or‘Defacto Partner’used often as relationship descriptor in Australia. But not many people know what the legal repercussions of that term means.

In Australia, just because you have not married someone does not mean that your relationship with that person has less rights than if you legally married that person.

In Australia, a ‘Defacto’ couple, has many if not all of the same rights and are bound by the same laws that married couples are, especially in terms of what happens when those two people separate, but have property, whether jointly or separately.

For Example, If Person A and Person B live together as a romantic couple, but are unmarried, for two years in a house owned by Person A, if they break up, Person B may have entitlements to Person A’s property. This is especially applicable if Person B has may financial contributions towards mortgage repayments or the upkeep of the property.

It’s easy to not realise that in Australia living with someone just as boyfriend and girlfriend can amount to a relationship as serious as marriage, so make sure you are getting legal advice before you move in with your partner into a property that may be owned by one of you.