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De Facto Relationships

De Facto Relationships

Monday 20th of May 2019
By: Alisha Edwards, Associate, Coote Family Lawyers

I feel this chapter is coming to a close and must say I've been extremely pleased with the service and support I've received - thank you!

I've been with my partner for a while now, at what point am I in a de facto relationship?

Under the Family Law Act, de facto couples enjoy the same entitlement to a property settlement and maintenance as married couples.

But, at what point do you move from dating to a de facto relationship?

A de facto relationship is given the following meaning under the Family Law Act:

1.  The parties are not married, are not family; and

2.  Having regard to all the circumstances of their relationship, they have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

A party can seek a financial settlement or maintenance if:

1.  The period, or total of the periods, of the de facto relationship is at least 2 years; or

2.  There is a child of the relationship; or

3.  A party to the relationship made a significant:

(a)  financial contribution to the acquisition, maintenance or improvement of a property;

(b)  non-financial contribution to the acquisition, maintenance or improvement of a property; or

(c)  contribution as homemaker and parent

and the failure to make an order would result in serious injustice.

When considering whether couples are in a de facto relationship, establishing domesticity is important. The Court therefore considers the following:

1.  The duration of the relationship;

2.  The nature and extend of their common residence;

3.  Whether a sexual relationship exists;

4.  The degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support between them;

5.  The ownership, use and acquisition of their property;

6.  The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;

7.  Whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory as a prescribed kind of relationship;

8.  The care and support of children; and

9.  The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

If you would like to sit down with one of Melbourne's top family lawyers to discuss your family law matter, please call us on (03) 9804 0035.



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