How long is a de facto relationship Australian length of time?
You have been with your significant other for a while now. Or, you may, unfortunately, be separating and are wondering if you were or are in a de facto relationship.
This question arises quite often but unfortunately does not have a simple answer. This is because whether or not a de facto relationship has been established will depend on a case-by-case basis and your unique circumstances.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the various ways in which a de facto relationship is established in the eyes of the law.
When Does a Relationship Become De Facto?
An integral part of discussing ‘de facto relationship Australia length of time’ is uncovering when a relationship evolves into a de facto relationship. When it comes to de facto relationships, the common belief is that a couple will need to live with one another for a particular period before they are considered a de facto relationship. This is only somewhat true.
In actuality, there are no set periods that a couple needs to be living together to be considered in a de facto relationship.
On the contrary, the Family Law Act 1975 provides that de facto relationships are not established unless:
- The couple has been living together for a minimum period of 2 years; or
- There is at least one child of the relationship; or
- The relationship is registered per the rules of the State or Territory
These are, however, only the typical ways a de facto relationship is established.
How To Prove The Existence Of a De Facto
Everything de facto relationship is different. Accordingly, there are multiple factors that Family Law legislation recognises in determining whether a couple is a de facto, including:
- The length of time a couple has been together in a relationship;
- If the couple lives together;
- The length of time they have lived together;
- Whether a sexual relationship exists;
- Whether the couple intermingles their finances, e.g. shared bank accounts;
- Whether they mutually own any property;
- If the couple shares any costs, e.g. rent, bills and so forth; and
- Whether friends and family know them as a couple.
De Facto Relationship Australia Length Of Time Examples
As shown above, the issue of a ‘de facto relationship Australia length of time’ does have a set period of two years in typical cases but may also be proved to exist in other circumstances.
Here are some scenarios below which may help illustrate whether your relationship would or would not constitute a de facto:
Scenario A) A couple have been residing together for six months. They do not share or intermingle their finances, and they do not have any children. There are also not registered as a de facto couple in line with their State or Territory legislation.
Unless there is an extenuating factor that would make it a severe injustice for them not to be considered a de facto relationship, they would likely not be considered a de facto.
Scenario B) For scenario B, let us assume all the circumstances of the first scenario are still valid. However, now the couple has decided to adopt a child together. Despite them not being together, having a child together is sufficient to constitute a de facto relationship.
Scenario C) In scenario C, let’s now assume the couple has been living with one another for 15 months. They are unregistered as a de facto couple, have no children and do not intermingle their finances. They do, however, split the costs of rent and other bills.
This scenario could go either way.
The Final Bit Of Advice
If you live with your partner, intermingle your finances and assets, and do not have any children, you should consider protecting yourself. The best way to do this is by registering your relationship.
Even if you have been living together for the requisite period of 2 years as a de facto couple, this period of time is undocumented. Accordingly, it may not be easy to establish how long you have been a de facto if the matter proceeded to Court. This is why registration is so vital.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
When discussing matters such as the ‘de facto relationship Australia length of time’, it is essential to remember that there is no set period for a De facto relationship to be established.
Two years is generally the minimum period for a couple who lives together to be considered a de facto relationship. However, a de facto relationship can still be established otherwise.
If you are unsure whether you and your partner or former partner constitute a de facto relationship, please feel free to get in contact with our team of friendly and experienced Family Lawyers today.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way.
With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
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