Are you in a de facto relationship?

Since the introduction of legislation governing de facto relationships, family lawyers in Perth have assisted de facto partners in property matters, mediation and litigation. De facto relationships come in many shapes and forms and there is no single factor that determines if a particular relationship is de facto. However, generally a de facto relationship is where two individuals live together in a marriage-like relationship. The sex of the parties is immaterial. Therefore, there can be a de facto relationship between different and same sex couples. There can also be a de facto relationship where one of the parties is legally married to someone else, or is also in another de facto relationship. The court takes into account many factors in determining whether a de facto relationship exists. 

One of these factors is the duration of the relationship between the parties, with a longer relationship more strongly indicating a de facto relationship. Another strong indicator of a de facto relationship is whether the parties live together, and the nature and extent of this common residence. For example, do the parties live together all of the time and consider the shared residence as their main address? 

The way in which the parties arrange their financial matters is important. For example, whether there are arrangements for financial support, and the extent of financial dependence. The pooling of resources for joint use is a good indicator of the existence of a de facto relationship.

Arrangements relating to property between the parties can also assist the court in determining whether a de facto relationship exists. This can include matters such as whether the parties have jointly purchased property in the duration of their relationship, the common use of property and how property was acquired. Partners may have also contributed to the property or made improvements, such as adding a pool. 

The court also looks into whether the parties had a mutual commitment to their relationship and to sharing their lives together. It is relevant whether there is currently or ever has been a sexual relationship between the parties. Consideration is also given to the public aspects of the relationship. This can include the reputation and the manner in which the relationship was perceived by others. It is also important whether the parties cared for and supported any children, whether the children are from the relationship or of one party. 

Determining whether a relationship is de facto is a key first step to determining what rights a person has, which family lawyers in Perth can indicate whether a court is likely to consider a relationship as de facto. A family lawyer in Perth can also provide assistance in the next step of the process, which could be mediation or relevant court applications.

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