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