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De Facto Relationships

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What is a "de facto relationship"?

A de facto relationship is a relationship between two people (whether a woman and a man, or a woman and a woman, or a man and a man) who are both over 18 and who live together as a couple, but who are not married to one another.  The age will become 16 (with parental or Family Court consent until 18) if new law introduced in June 2004 becomes law.

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Property ( Relationships ) Act 1976

In deciding whether two people live together as a couple, the Court will consider all the relevant circumstances, including:

  • How long the relationship has lasted
  • The extent to which the couple share a home
  • Whether they have a sexual relationship
  • Their financial and property arrangements and interdependence
  • Their ownership, use and acquisition of property
  • Their degree of mutual commitment to a shared life
  • Their care and support of children
  • Who does the housework and other household duties
  • The reputation and public aspects of the relationship (eg whether the partners are known to family and friends as "a couple").

These factors are only a guide.

The presence or absence of any of them will not necessarily determine whether there is a de facto relationship. The Court decides how important any one given factor is in each particular case.

No single factor is essential for the two people to be regarded as living together as a couple, and the fact that one of the factors is satisfied (for example, living in the same house) does not mean that two people are in a de facto relationship.

In other words, two persons could, for example, live in the same house but not be in a de facto relationship.

How long must you have lived together to be covered by the

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