How long do my partner and I have to live together before we are classed as in a de facto relationship?

A common question family lawyers get asked is:

What is the time frame that we have to be living together to be classed as in a de facto relationship. Is it six months? It is two years? The answer is: there is no set duration.

There are many other factors that are considered when working out if you are in a de facto relationship which include but are not limited to:

a) The duration of the relationship (there is no set duration);
b) The nature and extent of the common residence;
c) Whether a sexual relationship exists;
d) The degree of financial dependence or interdependence and any arrangements of financial support between them;
e) The care and support of children;
f) The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

De facto relationships can exist between two people of different sexes and between two people of the same sex.

In the event that your de facto relationship breaks down the following general principals are considered when settling financial disputes in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court:

1. Establishing the asset pool;
2. Determining the direct and indirect financial contributions to the relationship;
3. Identifying any indirect financial contributions such as gifts and inheritances;
4. Ascertaining the nonfinancial contributions to the relationship such as caring for children and homemaking;
5. Future requirements the Court will take into account include things like, age, health, financial resources, care of the children and the ability to earn an income.

If you are unsure whether you are in a de facto relationship or not it is best to seek advice from our experienced family lawyer Ashlyn McCurdy who will be able to speak with you about your individual circumstances.

Author: Amanda Smith