On 19 April 2011, An article was published in the Sydney Morning Herald titled “One Love Two Hearts : Let’s Not Get Together and We’ll Feel Alright” by Michelle Griffin
The article discussed how a significant number of people are in what the law would see as a de facto relationship, without being aware of this.
The article says “family law experts warn that couples who live apart can still be defined as de facto”.
The difficulty is that people who do not live together often think that this means they are automatically not in a de facto relationship.
However under the Family Law Act, living together is only one of several criteria that the Court uses to determine if the couple is in a de facto relationship. Other factors can include the duration of the relationship, if a sexual relationship exists, if there is any financial interdependence, how the relationship was perceived by others and also the “degree of mutual commitment to a shared life”.
Interestingly under the Act it is possible to be married and also in a de facto relationship with someone else and also to be in more than one de facto relationship at the same time. The legislation itself does not cap how many de facto relationships a person can be in at the same time, although in reality there must be practical limits.
The article states that couples who are older than 45 years and previously married are more likely that couples in their twenties to live separately.
As people feel less pressured by societal expectations and a plethora of different types of relationships exist, peoples’ intentions are not always clearly understood by the law.
If you have any further questions regarding your de facto relationship or if you would like to know if your relationship could be considered a de facto one, please contact Armstrong Legal on 9261 4555.