DE FACTO RELATIONSHIPS
A de facto relationship is a relationship in which a couple lives together on a genuine domestic basis. Under Australian law, couples of same sex or opposite sex are included in the definition of de facto relationship.
However, the definition of de facto depends on the particular circumstances of a couple, the law has formulated few rule of thumbs to determine whether a couple are (or were) de facto. These include:
- How long the couple have been together in their relationship;
- Whether the couple are married;
- Whether the relationship was sexual in nature;
- Financial dependency;
- Level of a mutual commitment towards a shared life;
- Owning and using a property; and
- Care and support of children.
There is very limited legal obligation on one de facto spouse to maintain or support the other, either during the relationship or after separation. In case of property settlement, it is preferable to reach an agreement outside the court through:
- Financial agreements (similar to pre-nuptial agreement);
- Consent orders; and
- Property orders.
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