Your preferred office location:
  1. Home
  2. /
  3. HHG Articles
  4. /
  5. Try before you buy: Why the demise of de facto couples is higher than married couples
9 Mar 2017

Divorce on the rise


It is apparent from the 2015 divorce statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that Perth is seeing a rise in the divorce rate.


In 2015,   48,517 divorces were granted in Australia, which is a 4.3% increase from the 2014 results.


Western Australia had the largest increase in the number of divorces granted in 2015, with a total of 4,992 divorces granted which was an increase of 10.5%, from 2014.

Know moreDivorce Lawyer


Try before you buy


It is no secret that there has been an increase in cohabitation prior to marriage over the last twenty years.


The University of Melbourne conducted the HILDA Survey on Families, Incomes and Jobs, which was published in 2012. The results showed that de facto couples were six times more likely to separate than de facto couples who married after cohabitating. There are many reasons why it is believed that there is a high separation rate of de facto couples who do not get married, some of which we have discussed below.


  1. Parties are moving in together as part of the selection process prior to marriage.

    People are taking their time whilst cohabiting as a de facto couple to get to know everything about one another before taking the plunge into marriage.

    2.  Parties may tend to cohabitate for convenience

        With the ever increasing property market, lack of employment opportunities and higher cost of 
        living parties may seek to cohabitate to cut the cost of every day life. 
        Therefore the decision to live as a de facto couple in many cases is a commercial decision rather 
         than a romantic one.

Weddings are costing a pretty penny

        De facto couples may face a higher rate of separation due to the increasing cost of a wedding in 
        Australia. Data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission shows that the 
        average cost for a wedding in Australia is $36,200. Therefore, parties may cohabitate longer in 
        order to save for the expense of the wedding, in some cases people may take years to save. This 
        period of extended cohabitation may ultimately lead to separation. Alternatively, the financial 
        pressure which the potential cost of a wedding puts on parties may also cause relationship stress.




Living in a de facto relationship gives some parties a false sense of security; with many holding the view that as long as they are not married they are not likely to be subject to property settlement.


Unfortunately for many parties they only discover that they are vulnerable to a property settlement claim following the demise of their de facto relationship.


If you are currently living with a boyfriend or girlfriend and your relationship fulfils one or more of these requirements, you can be considered to be in a de facto relationship:


1)    There has been a de facto relationship between the parties for at least 2 years; There is a child of the relationship who is under the age of 18 years and the failure of the Court to intervene to make an order for property settlement would result in a serious injustice for the partner caring for or responsible for the child;


2)    The Applicant or person who is seeking property settlement has made substantial contributions, these are not just financial contributions, these contributions also include non-financial contributions and contributions as the homemaker or parent; and


3)    In order for the Family Court of Western Australia to have jurisdiction both parties must have lived in Western Australia for one third of their relationship alternatively one of the parties must have made their substantial contributions in Western Australia.


If you are in a defacto relationship and are concerned or unsure about your entitlements as a de facto partner you should seek specific advice from a specialist Family Lawyer.


This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our offices on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.

*This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. Please consult one of our experienced Legal Team for specific advice relevant to your situation.

Supporting Western Australians for more than 100 years

"Always fast and thorough service. Thank you"

Sitka Pil

"My circumstances at the time I made contact with HHG were dire following my argument being rejected by two no win no fee firms. Following my initial meeting with HHG's employment law team I was left feeling extremely positive by the response and concern shown by HHG in regards to their support of my argument along with their preparedness to pursue an outcome on my behalf.

I accept the fact that nobody really wins in these cases (mental health/ workplace) however the end result was what would be considered most favourable and far in excess of what would have been achieved had I not sought the advice from HHG.

I have no hesitation in recommending HHG to anyone caught up in the messy circumstances I found myself in at the time.

Great advice and five-star commitment to their client!!"

Nathan Lynch

"Thank you for such great assistance with the transaction of Flying Domestics on behalf of Lorna Good. It has been such a pleasure to work with the HHG Legal Group and I look forward to working with you in the future."

Jim Goodwin

"Simon Creek and his team were at all times empathic, professional and confident.  My matter needed to be addressed within a pressing time frame, and their availability at short notice and contact after hours was much appreciated.  It caused me considerable stress, but having such a thoroughly reliable and competent team to call on helped me to feel in control. Although I hope not to need their services again in future, I would be confident in doing so!"

Dr Lana Bell

"A good outcome is what we can expect.  A great outcome is a sign of a company which does the very best for their clients. A very big thank you to Daniel Morris for showing empathy towards my small and much needed legal action.

To HHG Legal Group, thank you for a great outcome.  I would recommend your company to anyone seeking legal services."

Jan Atkinson

"Your support this morning was amazingly kind, not to mention your totally reassuring competence, knowledge and wisdom that you used on my behalf.  It was extremely reassuring to have your knowledgeable support, and I particularly appreciated your real and obvious kindness to me. It means so much at a very difficult time. I'm so grateful to you."

Family Law Client

"Janene was very professional and we established a good rapport quickly. The subject of death and wills can be quite confronting to deal with, however, Janene's approach was soft and accommodating."

Lynette Livesey

"A big thank you to HHG for their professional service, continued support, and wide range of legal knowledge. Our clients have given us nothing but kind words regarding HHG Legal Group and so we have no hesitation in referring and recommending Simon Creek and HHG Legal Group for their outstanding services and legal expertise."

Nigel Plowman, Director at Mckinley Plowman & Associates

"Simon is a friendly and practical legal advisor. I have received great feedback from the clients I have referred to him and his team at HHG Legal Group."

Richard Beal, Director at BDO

"Over the last few years, I have been impressed by Simon’s legal ability, management skills, entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity and people skills. He appears to be that rare breed of lawyer – both knowledgeable and commercial."

Michael Malone, Founder of iiNet

"Our family has been a client of HHG Legal Group over many years.  Business has included drawing up of wills for three generations and preparing of probate for my father in law. I would have no hesitation in recommending HHG Legal Group to anyone requiring such services."

Bernice Climie

"You should be congratulated for the manner in which your staff address clients and we found our dealings with your company, once again a very pleasant experience and we would like to truly thank you for your efforts."

Steve Harvey and Jane Powell

"HHG Legal were absolutely fantastic. Extremely responsive and brought calm to our chaotic family situation through their knowledge and caring attitude. Extremely professional from our very first contact with them and they expertly guided our family though the required legal process over almost a 12 month period."

Amanda Williamson

"Fantastic team! They really care about their client. Tim Colcutt is a 'go that extra mile' guy who gives his client his all. I can't recommend HHG and Tim enough."

Kerry Samson

"I had a fantastic lawyer in Matthew Lilly. He helped me out a great deal with good, sound advice in a friendly, professional manner. First class, thanks Matthew"

Graeme Hammond

"Marine Plant Systems has been working with HHG Legal Group for a few years now and they continually provide first-class service. Their professional advice has been invaluable to our company."

Carolin Grimm - Marine Plant Systems

"We were kept up to date at all times. Pricing was always updated over the time period so we remained "in budget". Personal access to someone whenever I had questions. All in all a great experience without too much fuss."

Rosslyn Tasker - COO Altusq Pty Ltd

"Good service you can count on."

Miles Lee

"HHG Legal Group has provided outstanding support as I have taken the journey of buying a business, their professionalism is beyond reproach. Their assistance throughout the Due Diligence process has been invaluable, I would fully recommend them."

Mark Armitage

"Very friendly and efficient service - what a pleasure working with Matthew."

Jacques Taylor

"I highly recommend Daniel from HHG Lawyer in Mandurah. When dealing with a complicated legal property matter recently I was extremely impressed by Daniel's honesty and integrity and the legal advice I received. I am very happy with the service from HHG Legal."

Tony Walker

"Lisa, thank you so much for representing me in court, honestly, I would not have had the outcome I got without you. Once again, Thank you so much."


"Matthew Lilly was excellent in processing our project. He achieved the excellent result that we required on our project.

We would give Matthew a 5 star rating.

We will definitely commission Matthew for any further projects if we have the need."


"I have had the pleasure of being represented by Ms Lisa Riley. Lisa helped me in December 2020 when I was charged. Lisa was extremely supportive, reassuring, and preserved with her investigation of the laws and was able to save me from a terrible outcome. Another incident occurred in August 2021 in which I sought Lisa’s help. Lisa preserved and was very patient with me. This only got resolved this year. When she advised me that she was leaving her old firm, I insisted that she remain my lawyer, as I had the utmost faith in her. Hence I moved over to HHG. Lisa took no shortcuts in my defence and continued to preserve for the toxicology report that ultimately saved me. She kept me up-to-date with the progress and provided support. Having someone as understanding as Lisa was a huge gift, to me and my family. You have gained a huge asset in Lisa joining your firm.

Thank you, Lisa, forever grateful for your work, and if ever needed, I will be sure to refer to you"


"We can highly recommend HHG Legal Group and particularly Mr Blair Campbell (Special Counsel / Dispute Resolution)

Blair worked with us as we navigated a very difficult third party dispute.

Blair’s expertise, wisdom, and the way he guided us in a very measured and calm manner gave us great encouragement and comfort. Blair helped us to focus on what we needed to and to trust the process.

Blair was always responsive to us, he always got back to us very promptly to answer our questions and to help us to step through some really hard days.

We are very grateful for Blair’s expertise and wisdom along with his empathy and care, this truly made the difference for us."

Wayne and Janice Belcher

Preferred office location:

Please select your nearest office location so we can show you the most relevant information.