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13 November 2014

Are you in a de facto relationship or are you just friends with benefits?

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Unlike married couples, the entitlement and obligations of parties, gay or straight, who live together turns on whether the parties were in a de facto relationship.  Unfortunately sometimes the parties are not even able to agree on whether they were or not!

The Family Law Act requires that to be in a de facto relationship the parties have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis. What does that mean?

The Court looks at all the circumstances of the relationship including how long it lasted, whether the parties shared a common residence, whether there is a sexual relationship, whether it is exclusive, the degree of financial interdependence, the mutual commitment to a shared life, the care and support of children and the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

Examples of where the Court may find that there is a not a defacto relationship include:

  • Where the parties despite sharing a home each had other sexual partners;
  •  Where one of the parties holds themselves out to be single for some purposes during the relationship;
  • Where the parties although representing to friends and relatives an exclusive relationship and staying at each other’s homes do not share a home (there are other cases that find there was a de facto relationship even though the parties did not share a home);

It is possible that the Court may find that parties were in a de facto relationship even though one of them was married to another person at the same time.

We can assist you by providing reliable advice as to a likely outcome. Contact one of our family law specialists today.

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