Article Category - Family Law By Beatrice Patterson 01 September 2023

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) defines a de facto relationship to be a relationship where the persons are not legally married to each other, are not related by family, and live together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis.

How do we know if the couple lives together on a genuine domestic basis?

  1. To decide the answer to this question, the Court looks at the following:
  2. The duration of the relationship;
  3. The nature and extent of their common residence;
  4. Whether a sexual relationship exists;
  5. The degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between them;
  6. The ownership, use, and acquisition of their property;
  7. The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  8. Whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a state or territory as a prescribed kind of relationship;
  9. The care and support of children; and
  10. The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

Importantly, not all the above factors need to be present and there is not one aspect that is more important than another when making a determination.

Did you know? A person can be in a de facto relationship with more than one person at any one time and they can also be in a de facto relationship with one person if they are legally married to another.

Threshold Issues: The court can assist in resolving disputes regarding division of property for de facto couples very similarly as they do for married/divorced couples. However, to apply to the court for a property Order, the following threshold must be met:

  1. That the total period(s) of the de facto relationship was at least 2 years;
  2. That there is a child of the relationship; or
  3. One party made a substantial contribution and failure to make an order would result in serious injustice to that party.

If you have any questions, or you’re navigating the breakdown of a relationship, don't hesitate to reach out to our team on (02) 6331 2911. We're here to help you and your family.

Beatrice Patterson | Solicitor