Where there has been a breakdown of a relationship, de facto partners may be faced with the challenging task of proving this relationship if its existence is disputed.
The Family Law recognises a ‘de facto’ relationship as one where two people, who are adults of any sex or gender identity, live together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. The relationship is not a de facto relationship if the couple are legally married or if they are related to each other by family.
There are various factors which go toward proving the circumstances of a de facto relationship and it is not required that all the factors be present. The Courts have also made it clear that any one factor will not necessarily be given more weight than another.
In evaluating whether parties have been in a de facto relationship, the following factors provide a general guide as to what the Court will consider in their assessment:
> The duration of the relationship
> The nature and extent of the parties common residence
> Whether there was any financial dependence and any arrangements for financial support
> The care and support of any children
> How the relationship was perceived in public by others
> The way that the parties owned and used their property – this involves asking the question, was land and other things treated mainly as “mine” or “ours”?
Importantly, you have a time limitation of two years from the date of separation to pursue any action relating to a financial matter. If the time limit has expired, the Court’s permission is required.
It is important to remember that each person’s case is unique to them and their specific situation.