Defining De Facto Relationships in Australia

Defining De Facto Relationships in Australia

A de facto relationship is legally defined as a relationships between two people, who are not legally married or related by family, and having regard to all of the circumstances of their relationship, who lived together on a genuine domestic basis.

Does a de facto relationship require cohabitation?

At this point there have not been any cases where the Court has ruled that a de facto relationship existed where the couple had never lived together, however, the Family Court has indicated that the concept of living together is not necessarily based on the proportion of time a couple spends living under the same roof.

Factors considered when defining de facto relationships

In practice, a Court decides if a de facto relationship exists based on a number of factors, including:

  • The duration of a relationship.
  • Whether a sexual relationship existed.
  • The nature of the couple’s common residence.
  • The degree of financial dependence or interdependence between the couple.
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life.
  • The ownership, use and acquisition of property.
  • The care and support of children.
  • The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

Limitation period

If you were in a de facto relationship and have separated from your partner, you have a two year time limit from the date your relationship ceased to make a property claim against a former de facto partner.

There are circumstances when this could be extended and you should seek professional legal advice.

Further Information

If you would like more information on how we can advise you following a relationship breakdown, whether it is a marriage or de facto relationship, do not hesitate to contact us on 9963 9800 or via this contact form.