5 steps to protect your finances in a de facto break up

Jane Garraway

02 Sep 2020


  • Family Law

In this short blog, Jane Garraway discusses the effects a de facto relationship separation can have on your finances and the steps you should take if you have separated.

Under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) a de facto relationship exists where two people of the same or opposite sex who are not married live together on a genuine domestic basis, usually for a period of two years, as a couple. There are a number of considerations the court takes into account when determining if there is a de facto relationship, however, the key thing to consider here is the “genuine domestic basis”.

De facto couples have almost all the same rights and claims as married couples when it comes to Family Law matters, including the right to ask the court to divide up the couples’ property, assets and debts after the breakdown of the relationship.

If your de facto relationship ends, it could have major effects on your finances. Therefore, if you and your de facto partner have recently separated, it is important to take these five steps to protect your finances:

  1. Notify your bank immediately if you have a joint mortgage or loan. Consider closing your joint accounts and cancelling joint credit cards.
  2. If either you or your ex-partner have moved out, update any rental agreements as well as your utilities, phone or internet accounts.
  3. Make a list of your joint assets and liabilities.
  4. Change your PINs and passwords.
  5. Seek legal advice.

How can we help?

Snedden Hall & Gallop has expertise and experience in family law, and is available to give legal advice and solutions to individuals involved in a de facto relationship. Contact our Family Law Team on 02 6285 8000 or by email.