Can I be in a


HomeNewsCan I be in a “Part-Time” De Facto Relationship?

Can I be in a "Part-Time" De Facto Relationship?

A recent decision of the Full Court of the Family Court at Sydney dealt with this issue.

The female party’s evidence was that the parties had been in a de facto relationship between August 2004 and September 2010. The male party’s evidence was that the parties were in a relationship but it did not satisfy the definition of a de facto relationship.

The male party gave evidence that the female party made representations that she was single and not in a de facto relationship and that he maintained other relationships.

The male party appealed against the trial judge’s decision that there was a de facto relationship. His appeal was unsuccessful. The appeal was dismissed and he was ordered to pay the female respondent’s costs.

The definition of “de facto relationship” is found in s 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“the Act”) which provides as follows:

(1)       A person is in a de facto relationship with another person if:

(a)      Persons are not legally married to each other; and

(b)      Persons are not related by family; and

(c)       Having regard to all the circumstances of their relationship,

they have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

Subsection (2) sets out factors relevant to determining whether parties are in a relationship as a couple. These factors include whether there is a shared residence, whether a sexual relationship exists, the degree of financial dependence, ownership of property and care and support of children.

In this particular case, the parties had lived together and had purchased property together albeit through a corporate entity. Although the parties did not live together on a full-time basis, this is not required by the legislation, or even that the parties live with each other for the majority of the time.