The Law Commission is currently reviewing the rules for how to divide property when a relationship breaks up and are seeking feedback from people from LGBT+ communities.

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 applies to three types of relationships: marriages, civil unions and de facto relationships, with the same rules applying for all.

The Law Commission is interested in finding out if the definition of a de facto relationship applies properly to members of the LGBT+ communities, or whether the way it is applied makes heteronormative assumptions.

Currently, the Act defines a de facto relationship as one that is between two people, regardless of gender identity or sexuality, both aged over 18 years, who “live together as a couple” and who aren’t married or in a civil union with each other.


The inclusive language now used in  statutes such as the Marriage Act, now use inclusive language when talking about relationships stating “regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity” and this has been proposed in the Legislation Bill 2017, which would amend the general definition of de facto relationships in the Interpretation Act 1999.

Click here to have your say, or to read more about the law and how it impacts the type of relationship you are in.

Submissions close on 7 February.