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Are you in a defacto relationship?

A defacto relationship according to the Family Law Act is a relationship with another person who you are not legally married to, who you are not related to by family and that you are in a relationship with, as a couple, living together on a genuine domestic basis.

How does the Court assess if you are living together in a genuine domestic relationship:

The Court may look at:
The duration of the relationship;
The nature and extent of common residence;
Whether a sexual relationship exists;
The degree of financial dependence or interdependence and arrangements for financial support;
The ownership, use and acquisition of each parties’ property;
The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
Whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a state or territory;
The care and support of any children; and
The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

A defacto relationship does not require a formal ceremony but would automatically apply when two people meet certain criteria.  You will need to demonstrate that you have lived together for at least two years or that you have a child together.  There are also other exceptional circumstances where the Court may declare that a defacto relationship exists, such as where one party has made substantial financial or non-financial contributions to another parties’ assets or where failure to declare a defacto relationship would result in serious injustice to one of the parties.

The Family Law Act recognises that one party maybe in multiple defacto relationships or that a person who is married may still be party to a defacto relationship with another person.
Published July 2014

For further advice or assistance

Contact Wendy Chennell on 5337 0255 or wchennell@nevetts.com.au or
Contact Bryarne Weir on 5366 3807 or bweir@nevetts.com.au

The information in this publication or on this website is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice about your particular circumstances.
The information on this website is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice about your particular circumstances. Nevett Ford do not warrant that information contained in links to third party sites are correct and accept no responsibility for the accuracy and reliability or any other matter in relation to a third party site.