A recent query about whether or not the couple were in a de facto relationship got me thinking about this. Could this be a new query on the dating scene? Forgive me for being a little out of but apart from knowing it as some form of dating site, Tinder is completely out of my frame of reference.
But it got me thinking. Do people really know what their status is? Let’s explore this further with a couple. Gender makes no difference and nor does age – the law applies equally
A couple meet with instant attraction. Their star signs are compatible. Each has their own place. Their relationship develops with delightful interludes. After all, they are grown-ups. They move happily between the two homes. Maybe three to four days in one home, a few days in the other. There are toothbrushes in each home and may be some personal items, but by and large they each maintain their own homes. Neither one is likely to consider themselves in a de facto relationship because they each have their own homes. Nice and tidy and they both know where they are in the event of a relationship breakdown, or so one may assume. There might even be another twist to this. What if one of them is still legally married?
Just because a couple is not married to each other or not living together on a full-time basis doesn’t mean automatically that they are not in a de facto relationship.
Under the Family Law Act a person is deemed to be in a de facto relationship with another person if they are not legally married to their partner but are in a relationship as a couple and living together on a “genuine domestic basis”. Under the law, you may still be considered to be in a de facto relationship. If: – One or both of you are still legally married to someone else; or one or both of you are also in another de facto relationship; or you are in a committed relationship with your partner but you do not live together a full-time basis.
But, our happy couple both say, we are not living together! We are not de facto’s! Whether our happy couple lived together in the same house is only one factor that the court must consider in deciding whether or not a de facto relationship existed. A couple don’t have to have been living together on a full-time basis or even on a part-time basis for the court to consider them as being in a de facto relationship. Living together is only one of the many factors indicating the existence of a de facto relationship.
So how will the court decide if a de facto relationship existed? By considering a number of factors when determining whether or not and for how long a de facto relationship existed, including the length of the relationship; the nature and extent of the couple’s common residences (yes sleepovers do count); Whether a sexual relationship existed; the degree of financial dependence or interdependence between the couple; the ownership use and acquisition of property; the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life; the care and support of children; and the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.
The Family Court has indicated the concept of living together is not necessarily based on the proportion of time a couple spends living under the same roof. Whether a de facto relationship existed or not can have an impact on property division in the event of breakdown of a relationship or even on the death of a partner.
For more info view our de facto relationships page.