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


Fernando, M and Rundle, O, The Family Court's approach to the circumstances' of a de facto relationship, Australian Journal of Family Law, 34 pp. 181-210. ISSN 0817-623X (2021) [Refereed Article]

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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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:relationships, de facto, family law, circumstances
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Law in context
Research Field:Family law
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Law reform
UTAS Author:Rundle, O (Dr Olivia Rundle)
ID Code:148405
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2022-01-07
Last Modified:2022-02-25
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