1. 6 Months of Being TogetherIt is a common misconception that after 6 months of being with your partner that you are counted as being in a de facto relationship. The Family Law Act provides that for the court to deem that you have been in a de facto relationship after you have separated, you must meet one of the following criteria.
- That the period for the de facto relationship is at least 2 years
- That there is a child in the de facto relationship
- That the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory
- When assessing property or custodial claims in cases of a breakdown of a relationship, it is recognised that significant contributions were being made by one party and the failure to issue an order would result in a serious injustice
Are we or aren’t we; what makes us a de facto relationship?Now after two years, you may be in a de facto relationship but it depends on whether you are together on genuine domestic basis. In determining this, the court will look at the following factors:-
- the duration of the relationship;
- the nature and extent of common residence (do you live together full time or part time?) whether a sexual relationship exists;
- the degree of financial dependence or interdependence and arrangements for financial support; (do you have a shared bank account or separate)
- the ownership, use and acquisition of their property;
- the decree of mutual commitment to a shared life;(you are in monogamous relationship)
- whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State/Territory;
- the care and support of children; and
- the reputation and public aspects of the relationship (do you go to parties together)
2. My partner can take half of my assetsNow let’s just say that you have been living together for six months and there is a baby on the way, and you brought the house into the relationship, the court may decide that it is a de-facto relationship that you are in. However, it would still be very unlikely that your partner would get half as it is a relatively short relationship but they may still get a small percentage. How can we help? If you would like some assistance in determining if you are in a de facto relationship or not we have developed a questionnaire that you can access here. If you are in a de facto relationship you may want to have a binding financial agreement prepared. You can read more about binding financial agreements here.
At Phillips & Wilkins, Chris practices in the areas of Property Law, Conveyancing and Family Law. Chris has grown up in the Northern Suburbs and continues to be a part of the local community as being a member of the Old Paradians Amateur Football Club and the Mill Park Cricket Club. Learn more about Chris' legal experience.