same-sex partnerships continue to rise
As same-sex partnerships continue to rise, the importance of developing a system of legal recognition for alternatively structured families is rapidly increasing. In order to generate a society of true inclusive equality, the law must clarify the meaning of de facto relationships.
The law has clearly established that those in a de facto relationship must be more than cohabitants or couples that often have sexual relations.
Current guidelines generally consider the roles of members of a household. These roles include but are not limited to child-rearing, general housekeeping, and the ways in which money is divided between partners. Those seeking to prove the existence of a de facto relationship can also used shared bills and the joint ownership of certain properties to prove status. Further, those cannot claim de facto status if they are currently legally married.
The changes in the law have tremendous implications for children in non-traditional arrangements, as well.
These changes come after an Australian woman sought legal protection after her partner of 14 years separated from the man with whom she had lived and jointly owned property. He went on to marry another woman. The woman who sought a division of property attempted unsuccessful to claim de facto relationship, but was not allowed to do so under Australian law. The reason established by the courts regarded that although she and her partner were in a long-term relationship, the said relationship was of mutual benefit and was more of a matter of a beneficial arrangement for the man, than an attempt at establishing a relationship somewhat equivalent to marriage.
The woman’s case unravelled as it was revealed that she paid rent to her partner. According to documents, the two occasionally vacationed together- but even this was not enough to prove the legal status of a de facto relationship.
Sources Used:Whisker, R. (2013, February 13). Law insists de facto relationship is more than just friends with benefits.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.