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What is a de facto relationship?


A person is in a de facto relationship with another person if they are firstly, not married to the other person and secondly they are not related and thirdly, the circumstances of the relationship indicate that the two people are a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

The relationship circumstances considered include the duration of the relationship, the ‘nature and extent of their common residence’, whether there is a sexual relationship, the degree of financial dependence or lack thereof, and any arrangements for financial support between them and the care and support of any children. Additional considerations include the ownership, use and purchase of their property, the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life together, whether the relationship is/was registered under a prescribed State or Territory law and otherwise, the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

The couple can be of the same or opposite sex and can even exist if of the people in the relationship is married to someone else.

Read our blog on ‘Am I entitled to a property settlement?’ to find out more about de facto couples’ right to a property settlement.