De facto Relationships
What is the difference between a marriage and a de facto relationship?
Marriages recognised by Australian law are at this date only those celebrated between two people. Australian law only allows parties to be married to one person at any given time.
A de-facto relationship is marriage-like in nature between two people, including those of the same sex, who have not been validly married.
What is a de facto relationship?
A de-facto relationship is defined in the Family Law Act. Some of the factors considered in defining a couple as ‘de-facto’ are:
- Not legally married to each other;
- Not related by family;
- Having regard to all the circumstances of their relationship, they have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.
- In deciding what constitutes ‘genuine domestic basis’ the Court may consider:
- The duration of the relationship;
- The nature and extent of their common residence;
- Whether a sexual relationship exists;
- The degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between them; The ownership, use and acquisition of their property;
- The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
- Whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory as a prescribed kind of relationship;
- The care and support of children;
- The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.