Am I in a De Facto Relationship?

Am I in a De Facto Relationship?

Am I in a defacto relationship?

A “de facto” relationship is where two people who are not married or related by family, are in a relationship as a couple on a “genuine domestic basis”. This includes same sex couples.

The definition seems simple, but sometimes it can be a difficult task to determine. There are a number of factors that may indicate a de facto relationship and that a Court may need to consider if there is a dispute as to the existence of a de facto relationship.

Some of these indicators are as follows:-

  1. The duration of the relationship. The longer the relationship exists, the stronger the argument that the relationship was a “de facto relationship”.
  2. The nature and extent of their common residence – i.e. whether the couple lived together during the course of the relationship, and whether payment of board or rent was made by one of the parties to the other. Also, whether the address or residence of the couple was on official correspondence, i.e. on their licences, income tax returns, the electoral roll and other government agencies.
  3. Whether a sexual relationship existed. This includes the frequency of the sexual relationship and the mutual exclusivity of the couple’s sexual relationship.
  4. The care and support of children in the relationship.
  5. The degree of financial dependence or interdependence, including whether there was joint ownership of property, joint bank accounts, health insurance in joint names, payment towards joint mortgages and/or loans and sharing of household and other expenses.
  6. The ownership, use, and acquisition of their property including, joint ownership of real estate (or discussions around purchasing one), living together in a property, payments towards the mortgage of a property owned by one of the couple, purchase of furniture and belongings.
  7. The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life including, living together in a common residence, spending regular time together and with friends and family, conversations and statements the couple may have made to each other and to others about each other, attending functions together such as weddings, engagement parties, and the like. 
  8. Lastly, were provisions made in the couple’s wills for each other or are the parties beneficiaries under each other’s superannuation policies.

De facto couples, similar to married couples, can obtain property settlements on the same fundamentals that apply to married couples who are in the process of separation.

If you are in any way unsure of the potential impact your relationship (or the breakdown of your relationship) could have on your financial situation, we recommend that you seek expert Family Law legal advice. 

To meet with one of our experienced Family Law Team please contact us on 8525 2700, or click here to request an appointment with one of our team. Mention this article to get your 30 first minute consultation for free.

Article written by Nikita Ward
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash