To be in a de facto relationship:

• You must be a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis;

• You can be of the same or different gender;

• You must not be legally married to each other;

• You must not be related.


Factors considered by the Court in determining the existence of a de facto relationship include:

(a) The duration of the relationship;

(b) The nature and extent of a common residence;

(c) Whether a sexual relationship exists;

(d) The degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support between the parties;

(e) The ownership, use and acquisition of property;

(f) The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;

(g) Whether the relationship is or was registered under State or Territory law as a prescribed kind of relationship;

(h) The care and support of the children;

(i) The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.


A de facto relationship can exist even if:

• The parties live in separate cities;

• The relationship is not exclusive;

• They do not live together full time;

• There is no sexual relationship.

By contrast, a de facto relationship may not exist even if the parties have a child together. Each case is decided on its facts. Some facts may indicate a de facto relationship existed and others may indicate that it did not. There may also be contradictory indications that the de facto relationship started or ended at a particular time.

The information on this website is of a general nature only and may not reflect recent changes to certain areas of law. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for discussing your situation with a qualified legal practitioner. Contact us for more information.