What is a de facto re­la­tion­ship? It’s com­pli­cated

Style Magazine - - Promotion - BY SE­NIOR AS­SO­CIATE AND AC­CRED­ITED FAM­ILY LAW SPE­CIAL­IST, AN­DREW MCCORMACK

“W hen does a de facto re­la­tion­ship start?”, is a ques­tion I of­ten get asked.

The rea­son that it is a com­mon ques­tion is that there are dif­fer­ent def­i­ni­tions for dif­fer­ent pur­poses.

There has never re­ally been any hard and fast rules about when people are in a de facto re­la­tion­ship.

In the eyes of the law to be in a de facto re­la­tion­ship, two people must be liv­ing to­gether on a “gen­uine do­mes­tic ba­sis”.

FAC­TORS USED TO DE­CIDE THIS IN­CLUDE:

The du­ra­tion of the re­la­tion­ship The na­ture and ex­tent of com­mon res­i­dence

Whether a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship ex­ists (or ex­isted)

The de­gree of fi­nan­cial de­pen­dence on each other and the fi­nan­cial sup­port that has oc­curred

Whether there has been any prop­erty (real es­tate or other as­sets) that have been pur­chased to­gether

Whether there was a de­gree of mu­tual com­mit­ment to a shared life

Whether the gen­eral pub­lic be­lieved that people were in a de facto re­la­tion­ship, and

Whether there were chil­dren of the re­la­tion­ship and the care ar­range­ments for the chil­dren.

In mak­ing a de­ter­mi­na­tion about whether a re­la­tion­ship ex­ists, a court does not have to find that all of the cri­te­ria men­tioned above ex­ists for it to make a dec­la­ra­tion that a re­la­tion­ship

ex­isted. A court can use its dis­cre­tion and give weight to the fac­tors it thinks are ap­pro­pri­ate when mak­ing this type of de­ter­mi­na­tion.

Our team of fam­ily lawyers in Ip­swich, Bris­bane and Toowoomba are avail­able to as­sist in de facto par­ent­ing and prop­erty mat­ters.

Con­tact one of our of­fices to­day to make an ini­tial ap­point­ment.

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