New laws support separating de facto couples in Western Australia

Attorney-General

Cabinet Secretary

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP

WA Attorney-General

The Hon John Quigley MLA

Joint media release

De facto couples in Western Australia who separate will now be able to split their superannuation, granting them the same right as couples throughout Australia.

The Commonwealth and Western Australian governments today announced the commencement of laws that allow separating de facto couples in Western Australia to split their superannuation as part of a family law property settlement.

Until today, due to the unique nature of the Family Court of Western Australia, de facto couples in WA did not have the same rights as those in other states.

This inequity had especially affected separating couples with low‑value property pools, where superannuation may be the only significant asset to divide. It also disproportionately affected women who, on average, accumulate less superannuation.

De facto couples may have made significant contributions to each other’s superannuation over the course of their relationship, which is important to reflect in just and equitable property settlements.

The reforms beginning today also allow the Family Court of Western Australia to hear bankruptcy proceedings concurrently with family law property proceedings. This will benefit separating de facto couples in Western Australia who no longer need to go to the effort and expense of proceedings in two different courts.

Commonwealth Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has welcomed the changes.

“We will always champion legislation that makes the family law system fairer,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“The Commonwealth Government is committed to restoring the family law system so that it is accessible, simpler to use, safer and delivers justice and fairness for all Australian families.”

WA Attorney-General John Quigley said he is delighted to bring this important change to Western Australia.

“The changes championed by Western Australia will put an end to the real and pronounced injustice that separating de facto couples have faced.

“It is a momentous day. For the first time in our State’s history separating de facto couples in WA will be allowed to split their superannuation.”

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