Partners who live together often misunderstand whether they can obtain a property order from a Family Law Court
If you and your partner have children together, the court will allow you to seek parenting orders, even if you never lived together. If you want a property order, however, you must satisfy the court that you are or were married or in a de facto relationship.
Many people misunderstand Australian law as it relates to de facto relationships. To determine whether you are in a de facto relationship and entitled to the protection of Australian laws governing property division after a break up, it is best to seek legal advice from a lawyer who handles family law cases.
Length of Relationship
People often believe that if they have lived together for three or six months, they are in a de facto relationship. A court might not agree.
As a general rule, parties must live together for at least 2 years before a court will recognize a de facto relationship. However, there are exceptions to that rule. For example, if you and your partner were in a de facto relationship for less than two years and had a child together, a court will grant you the protection of Australian family law.
In some cases, even if were in a de facto relationship for less than 2 years and did not have a child together, a court will allow a family law case to proceed. Courts do that when one party has made a substantial contribution to the relationship and it would be unfair not to return some or all of the value of that party’s contribution after a breakup.
People often think that if they have shared a residence, they are in a de facto relationship. That isn’t necessarily true.
Under Australian law, living together is not enough to create a de facto relationship. The parties must live together in a genuine domestic relationship. To decide whether a genuine domestic relationship exists, a court will examine several factors, including:
- How long the parties have lived together
- Whether the parties have children together
- Whether the parties have a sexual relationship
- Whether the parties are sharing expenses
- Whether the parties are sharing ownership of property
- Whether the parties have made a commitment to sharing their lives
- Whether the parties hold themselves out to the public as being in a committed relationship
No single factor determines whether individuals are in a de facto relationship. A court will examine all of the factors together to make a decision.
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.