Ingredients of a de facto relationship

A court must determine whether or not a de facto relationship exists. The threshold issue may not be established and the court will reject the claim of a de facto relationship. For example, the court must be satisfied that there is a commitment of two people to a shared life together.

A couple in Ethiopia underwent a wedding ceremony in Ethiopia and had a child together. They came to Australia together. The alleged de facto husband argued that he only agreed to marry the applicant as her fiancé had at the last minute refused to marry her. He was allowing her to “save face” but in his view he had no intention of having any life with her as a partner.

The parties had a child together but they did not live together or have an ongoing sexual relationship. They failed the test and the court refused to acknowledge that a de facto relationship existed.

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