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Is a Boyfriend a De Facto Relationship?

is a boyfriend a de facto relationship | Justice Family Lawyers

Being in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship doesn’t automatically constitute a de facto relationship under Australian law. For a relationship to be legally recognised as de facto, it must meet specific criteria. 

This typically includes living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis and demonstrating a mutual commitment to a shared life.

The definition and qualifications for a de facto relationship are not strictly tied to a set duration, such as the commonly referenced two-year period. Instead, the focus is on the nature of the relationship itself, including the couple’s arrangement and mutual commitment to a shared life.

Ultimately, whether a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship qualifies as de facto depends on the individual circumstances and will be assessed by a court if there’s a dispute.

Does living together make you de facto?

Living together is a key indicator of a de facto relationship but it alone does not define one.

Although many assume a standard two-year cohabitation is necessary for de facto status, the law actually allows for flexibility.

Registration of the relationship or substantial contributions to one another’s lives, particularly when a child is involved, can establish de facto status.

When determining de facto status, the Family Court considers the overall nature of the couple’s relationship. It examines factors such as living arrangements, financial interdependence, degree of commitment, and how the relationship is perceived publicly.

Also read: Interdependent Partner vs De Facto: 3 Key Points You Need to Know

What evidence is needed to prove a de facto relationship?

To substantiate a de facto relationship in legal contexts such as family law proceedings or for certain government benefits in Australia, you typically need to provide evidence reflecting the interdependent nature of your relationship. This may include:

  1. Joint Financial Documents: Evidence of shared financial responsibilities and assets such as joint bank accounts, shared loans, or evidence of financial support between partners.
  2. Co-habitation: Documents proving co-residence, such as joint leases or utility bills.
  3. Duration of the Relationship: According to Section 4AA(2)(c) of the Family Law Act 1975, one of the factors that might be considered in determining whether a relationship is de facto is the duration of the relationship. While a two-year period is a common benchmark, it is not an absolute rule.
  4. Social Recognition: Evidence that the relationship is socially acknowledged, including statements from friends and family, joint invitations, or membership in clubs or organisations.
  5. Children: Having children together or shared responsibilities for the care and support of children can demonstrate a de facto relationship.
  6. Personal Statements: Written statements detailing the nature of the relationship, including how you support each other personally, financially, and emotionally.
  7. Household Nature: Evidence of shared responsibilities within the household, like chores, cooking, and maintenance, can support the claim of a de facto relationship.
  8. Commitment Evidence: Documents such as named beneficiaries in wills or insurance, indicating long-term commitment.

This evidence helps establish a genuine de facto relationship by demonstrating the couple’s domestic, social, and financial integration. For precise guidance, consulting with a de facto relationship lawyer is highly recommended.

Unsure if your relationship is considered de facto? Get clarity.

Understanding your legal status in a relationship is vital, especially concerning property and finances. Don’t leave your future to chance.

Justice Family Lawyers can assist in determining your de facto relationship rights and obligations within your relationship and offer clear, personalised advice for your circumstances.

Contact us for a confidential consultation today.

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