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The Family Court’s approach to the ‘circumstances’ of a de facto relationship

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Fernando, M and Rundle, O ORCID: 0000-0002-1297-9688 2021 , 'The Family Court’s approach to the ‘circumstances’ of a de facto relationship' , Australian Journal of Family Law, vol. 34 , pp. 181-210 .

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Abstract

This article examines how the Family Court views the circumstances of relationships when deciding whether two people were in a ‘de facto relationship’ for the purposes of post-separation financial proceedings. The core of the statutory definition of a de facto relationship is ‘a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis’, to be identified by examining ‘all the circumstances’ of the relationship. By looking at all of the cases where the Family Court has determined this issue, the authors examined the court’s approach to relationship ‘circumstances’, such as common residence and financial interdependence. The authors found that the court relies heavily on the circumstances listed in the Family Law Act, but that certain circumstances are more indicative of a de facto relationship than others, and there is a lack of clarity about what is required to satisfy some circumstances. The authors make suggestions of how the law might be improved so that parties have greater certainty about how their relationship circumstances may be viewed if they separate.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Fernando, M and Rundle, O
Keywords: relationships, de facto, family law, circumstances
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Family Law
Publisher: LexisNexis Butterworths
ISSN: 0817-623X
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 LexisNexis Butterworths

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