Family and Divorce Lawyers’ Advice in Resolving De Facto Relationship Issues

Family Law

De facto relationships are becoming more common, with adult couples living together on a domestic basis. As specified by the law, this type of relationship is formed when the persons living together are not married, or they are not relatives. Often the notion of common law marriages used in English speaking countries is described as similar to de facto relationships. It should be noted that this type of relationship applies to same sex couples as well. Despite the lack of an official ceremony to determine the relationship status, the court considers a number of factors prior to determining whether an application for registering a de facto relationship should be granted an affirmative answer. The factors considered comprise: the number of years the relationship has lasted, the nature of common home, the existence of a sexual relationship, the financial interdependence and property ownership of the parties, the commitments shared, the children brought up and supported by the parties, the discharge of household duties, and the public image of the couple.

For de facto couples who have applied to court to obtain official recognition, one of the following requirements have to be met: the relationship should have lasted for more than two years; the couple should be raising a child; or, the relationship should have been officially registered as per a state or territory law. In de facto relationship matters, family and divorce lawyers’ advice is invaluable, as the legal responsibilities and rights of such couples are similar to those of traditional married couples. Lawyers are knowledgeable not only in similarities, but also in the important differences for de fact couples. For example, following a relationship breakdown, neither party is entitled to property rights or maintenance by the other party. Legal advice can help de facto couples and protect their legal rights.