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Family Law

Boyfriend & Girlfriend or De facto Relationship?

A recent case in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia has resulted in a Judge ruling that a couple were just ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ and not in a de facto relationship, despite the parties having 2 children together and being involved in a lengthy sexual relationship.

In Weldon & Levitt [2017] FCCA 3072 (11 December 2017), the Court considered that the respondent had not advised Centrelink that the parties were in a de facto relationship, but the applicant had given a statement to Police saying that the parties had been in a de facto relationship for 12 years. Further, the parties had lived in the same house for less than 1 year during their relationship and the applicant was paying child support to the respondent for the children.

Parties to a marriage or a de facto relationship of at least 2 years are able to apply to the Courts for decisions about family law property settlements. Parties who have been in a de facto relationship for less than 2 years but have children together are also able to make applications to the Court.

As a result of this decision, the applicant would not be entitled to seek a family law property settlement against the respondent and the Court ordered for their caveats over the respondent’s properties to be withdrawn.

There are many factors which must be considered when determining whether parties are in a de facto relationship. It is also important to remember that applications relating to property divisions must be filed within 2 years of the de facto relationship ending or 1 year of divorce for married couples.

If you need assistance with a family law property division, please feel free to contact us.

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