Are you really in a de-facto relationship?

The Family Court has determined that whether parties are in a de-facto relationship must be considered on a case by case basis. The Family Law Act requires that parties must have a relationship as a couple “living together on genuine domestic basis”.

In a recent case in the Federal Magistrate’s Court, the Applicant woman succumbed to a sexual encounter and fell pregnant with the male Respondent. The parties kept their own separate residences and spent a couple of nights overnight together, but on the Applicant woman’s case they ate frequently together.

After the birth of the child, the male Respondent made no attempt to contact the Applicant or the child and would not sign the birth certificate. Justice Mushin of the Family Court had previously held that “living together” does not require that a couple live together on a full time basis and there was no reason to suggest that parties would have to live together by even as much as half of the time.

In the subject case the Federal Magistrate found[1], that the Applicant and Respondent in that case had not been living together on a genuine domestic basis sufficient to satisfy the meaning of domestic relationship. [1] Ricci & Jones (2010) FMCA fam 1425.

For more information about the common rules around child custody and access make sure to read our latest article.

Rowan Skinner

About Rowan Skinner

Rowan Skinner is a highly skilled family lawyer with over 35 years of experience across various legal roles and jurisdictions. Rowan specialises in resolving family law disputes such as divorce, financial settlements, child custody and domestic violence cases. Through his diverse and extensive experience, Rowan has a deep understanding of the complexities and nuances involved in family law. Rowan is a skilled negotiator and litigator who follows a compassionate and client-focused approach which prioritises helping you navigate what can be an emotional and challenging time.