What is a De Facto Relationship?
The Family Law Act defines that a de facto relationship is one where that parties are not married or related and when having regard to all circumstances of their relationship, they have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.
How do you Determine if you are or were in a De Facto Relationship?
The consideration set out in the Family Law Act to determine if a de facto relationship existed includes:
- Length of the relationship
- The nature and extent of any common residence
- If a sexual relationship existed
- The degree of financial dependence and any financial support
- The ownership, use and acquisition of their property
- The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life
- Whether a relationship is or was registered in a State or Territory
- The care and support of children
- The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.
If you are or were in relationship with someone but each of you still had your own home, the court may still consider that you are living in a de facto relationship. As set out above living together is only one of the consideration when determining a de facto relationship.
It is possible to be in more than one de facto relationship at one time. It is also possible to be married and in a de facto relationship at the same time.
De Facto Relationship breakdown and Parenting Arrangements
If you have children together, regardless of whether you were married or in a de facto relationship, you are able to make an application the Court for parenting orders. You can also enter into Parenting Plans and make an application for a child support assessment.
De Facto parents have to meet the same requirement of attending mediation and being issued with a S60I certificate prior to making an application to the Court. In some circumstances this requirement can be dispensed with.
De Facto Relationship breakdown and Property Settlement
If you meet the definition of what is considered a de facto relationship then just like married couples that separate, you are able to negotiate a de facto property settlement or make an application to the court for an adjustment of property. Regardless of whether you were married or if you were in a de facto relationship, the principles in the family law act will be applied by the Court.
If there is any dispute over the fact a de facto relationship existed, the Court is able to have a discreet hearing solely focussing on determining if a de facto relationship existed. This discreet hearing can take place before any hearing is conducted in relation to a property settlement.
There is a limitation period of 24 months that commences on the date of separation. Once this period expires you will need to seek leave from the Court in order to be able to bring an application for a property settlement.
Gillard Family Lawyers in Newcastle is able to provide you with advice in relation to your relationship and if it would be considered a de facto relationship. We can attend parenting and property mediation, negotiate out of court settlement or make applications to the Court seeking appropriate orders on your behalf. Contact us today to make an appointment.