The Family Law Act 1975 defines a de facto relationship under Section 4AA. Essentially, you and your former partner, same or opposite sex, must have had a relationship and lived together on a genuine domestic basis. A relationship, however, is not de facto if you were legally married to each other or related by family.
Interestingly, the recent case of Crick & Bennett  FamCAFC 68 held two people to be in a de facto relationship for 13 years despite the de facto husband’s belief that the relationship had ended after 2 years. The primary judge, in reference to the public aspects of the pairs relationship, made a declaration that there was a de facto relationship for a certain period under s90RD Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). Over the years, the pair would attend Christmas celebrations and family barbeque’s with their child, together. They had also attended various dinners with friends together and at least on one occasion, attended dinner at the house of parents, of children from their child’s school.
The applicant appealed. Under s4AA of the Family Law Act, appeal was dismissed as there was no error in the finding of a de facto relationship.
The Trial Judge did not accept that the de facto husband had officially communicated the end of the relationship in 2004. The Court gave greater weight to the de facto wife’s evidence that whilst the de facto husband believed he had communicated the end of the relationship and agreed to live together to assist her financially, the Court agreed with the de facto wife that no such discussion was had.
The Full Court upheld the Trial judges decision on appeal and the case will now proceed to Trial to decide the de facto wife’s entitlements.
If you are confused as to whether you are or may still be in a de facto relationship, you can speak with our Principal, Gina Hagan today. Call 07 5630 6506 today to get in touch with us.