What are the essential ingredients of a de facto relationship?
The Family Law Act requires that a court must consider a number of factors in determining whether or not a de facto relationship exists. These factors include the period of time for the relationship, whether there is a child of the relationship, whether one or both of the parties made a substantial financial contribution to the relationship, when the relationship ended and where each of the parties lived during the relationship.
In a recent case a trial judge was required to determine whether a couple had lived together in a de facto relationship.
The facts of the case were that one party was in fact married (and not to the partner in the case before the court). The couple in question maintained separate households. The parties kept their relationship a secret. The parties had not at any time held joint bank accounts or funds or investments. For a period of time one party paid to the other a monthly sum.
One party considered that the entire relationship was no more than an “affair”.
The court must find that the parties were “as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis”. Furthermore it is important to consider the nature and quality of the asserted relationship.
On the specific facts of the case the court determined that there was no de facto relationship. The evidence is critical in presenting such a case to the court.