A de facto relationship is normally defined as a relationship between two persons (same sex or different sex) who are not legally married or related by family and are living together on a genuine domestic basis.

Are we living together on a “genuine domestic basis??

There are a number of factors the court will consider when determining whether a de facto relationship exists between you and your partner including but not limited to:

  • The duration of the relationship;
  • The nature and extent of your common residence;
  • Whether a sexual relationship exists;
  • The degree of financial dependence or interdependence and any arrangements for financial support between you and your partner;
  • The ownership, use and acquisition of any property;
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  • Whether the relationship has been registered;
  • The procreation of children;
  • The care and support of children;
  • The performance of household duties; and
  • The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

The court has a wide discretion to give weight to whichever circumstances it thinks more relevant in making a determination as to whether a relationship exists. It is important to note that you do not need not be living together on a full time or part time basis for the court to consider there being a de facto relationship.

If I am in a de facto relationship can I gain assistance from the court?

When parties to a de facto relationship separate it is possible to access the Family Court in situations where the relationship has usually existed for a period of two years. There are some instances where proof of the two year period will not be required such as:

  • Where you have a child together;
  • Where one party has made substantial contributions to the relationship both financial and non-financial; or
  • Where you have registered your relationship under the relevant state law which in Queensland is the Relationships Act 2011.

You have a time limit of two years from the date that your relationship ended to make a property claim against your former partner.

Provided you have met these thresholds you will have substantially the same rights and liabilities as that of a married couple including claims for spousal maintenance and superannuation splits.