As a 20-something year old family lawyer, the most common question I am asked when outside of the office is “am I in a de facto relationship?”
While those who have already made enquiries presume the answer is “only if I have been living with my partner for two years”, the answer is not that simple.
The Family Law Act says that if the couple is not legally married or related by family and “have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis” then they would be deemed to be in a de facto relationship. The question then becomes, well what does it mean to be living as a couple on a genuine domestic basis?
The Act outlines several factors that may be considered when deciding whether two people are in a de facto relationship. Those factors include:
- The duration of the relationship
- The nature and extent of their common residence
- Whether a sexual relationship exists
- The degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support between them
- The ownership, use and acquisition of their 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 as a prescribed kind of relationship
- The care and support of children
- The reputation and public aspects of the relationship
If you would like to know more about whether you are in a de facto relationship and what that means if you break up, call us.