Have you been with your partner for long enough to wonder about whether a de facto relationship is right for you or if you are in one already?
The question of ‘How long is a de facto relationship’ arises quite frequently from couples who have been together for some years. Unfortunately, the question does not have a clear-cut answer, and so the answer will depend on your particular circumstances. Luckily for you, this article will cover all the situations that arise in answering ‘how long is a de facto relationship’ to help you feel confident in understanding your situation.
What Is A De Facto Relationship In The Eyes Of The Law?
If your de facto relationship has broken down and you seek recourse in court, you must apply for de facto financial orders within two years. Once this period has elapsed, you will need to obtain special permission from the court to apply.
The court must be satisfied with the following before being able to determine your financial dispute:
1. The de facto relationship which has broken down was a genuine domestic relationship and;
2. One of the following criteria are satisfied:
- The relationship lasted for a minimum period of 2 years
- There is a child in the relationship
- The relationship is legally registered in accordance with State or Territory laws.
- Significant financial or non –monetary contributions were made by either party during the relationship, and it would be a severe injustice not to recognise that and not proceed.
As we can see from above, in the eyes of the law, the answer to ‘how long is a de facto relationship’ really depends on a couple’s particular circumstances.
How Does The Court Determine a Genuine Domestic Relationship?
The following factors below are not definitive, however, they are given some consideration by the courts in determining whether a de facto relationship existed and was a genuine domestic relationship:
- Whether the couple is living together
- Whether there a sexually intimate relationship exists
- Whether friends and family know the persons as a couple
- The extent to which the couple has combined their finances, such as joint bank accounts
- Whether the couple owns any property or significant assets together
- The length of time the couple has lived together
- Whether costs of living are shared, such as water, electricity and phone bills
How Long Is A De Facto Relationship In The Eyes Of The Law?
As mentioned above, the answer to ‘how long is a de facto relationship’ does not have a clear-cut answer as it will depend on your particular circumstances.
In some cases, the answer is unknown, and it will be left up to the court to make the final decision on whether your relationship constitutes a de facto or not. Take, for instance, the examples below:
Example 1. A couple was to have only been together for five months while living together but does not share their finances, is not registered as a de facto couple as per their state or territory legislation and does not have a child. They will likely not constitute a de facto relationship.
Example 2. Take the same situation above, but suppose the couple has adopted a child. The court will likely consider this a de facto relationship now.
Example 3. Let’s assume now the couple has been living together for 18 months. However, there are no children, they are unregistered, and nothing else is present from the definitive set of factors in establishing a de facto relationship. Such a situation could go either way.
As shown, such examples help illustrate that the answer to the question of ‘how long is a de facto relationship’ is not the same in every circumstance.
The Key Takeaway Message From This Article
Suppose you are living together with your partner and sharing assets and finances. In that case, you should safeguard yourselves and ensure that one of the necessary factors to establish a de facto relationship is satisfied.
It is also important to remember that although the minimum period of 2 years may be satisfied in the scope of your relationship, this time is undocumented. Accordingly, you are required to prove this if proceeding to court. Therefore, if you and your partner do not have parental responsibility for any children together – it is highly recommended that you register the de facto relationship in line with your State or Territory legislation.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
When discussing the question of ‘how long is a de facto relationship’, it is important to note that the question does not have a clear-cut answer, and it will depend on your unique circumstances. If you would like any more information regarding de facto relationships or other family law-related matters, please do not hesitate to reach out.
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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