Mcphee Lawyers


13 November 2014

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


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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