De Facto Relationships

Am I In A De Facto Relationship

Often, couples may find themselves wondering whether their relationship is recognised by the law as de facto.

Determining whether you are in a de facto relationship is important as you are entitled to certain rights if the relationship breaks down.

Section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) defines a de facto relationship as a couple being in a relationship and living together ‘on a genuine domestic basis’. The couple must not be:

  • Legally married to each other, and
  • Related by family

Both opposite and same-sex couples can be in a de facto relationship.

Furthermore, a Court can find a de facto relationship even when one of the parties is legally married to someone else or in another de facto relationship.

The court has the power to make a declaration to declare that a de facto relationship existed, or never existed, between 2 persons.

The court can determine:

  • The period, or periods, of the de facto relationship;
  • When a de facto relationship ended; and
  • Where each of the parties to the de facto relationship was ordinarily resident during the de facto relationship.

It is extremely significant that the court has the power to make a finding of the first two points.

It will have an impact as to whether a party will be able to make an application for a financial order.

They will also be able to make a determination if the relationship existed at least until 1 March 2009 which was the date of the commencement of the legislation.

The third bullet point is relevant to the geographical requirement in section 90RG of the Act.

The Court must be satisfied that one or both of the parties were residents within “a participating jurisdiction” before being empowered to make any orders.

Click on the links below to find out further information about what your legal options are and what you need to consider in your situation.

Remember if you have a question about a particular issue, you can contact our solicitors for advice by phone or make a website enquiry directly to our office.