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“Friends With Benefits” not a de facto relationship

The Federal Circuit Court in Queensland has found that a homosexual couple who lived together for seven years and engaged in occasional sexual contact was not in a bona fide de facto relationship.

Judge Coker delivered the judgment in early November 2014. The decision will be very welcome for persons that engage in casual sexual encounters but do not consider themselves in a domestic relationship with that other person. Under Section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975, the circumstances which may prove that a De facto Relationship exists includes:

(a) the duration of the relationship;

(b) the nature and extent of their common residence;

(c) whether a sexual relationship exists;

(d) the degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between them;

(e) the ownership, use and acquisition of their property;

(f) the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;

(g) whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory as a prescribed kind of relationship;

(h) the care and support of children;

(i) the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

The Court will consider these factors and weigh these against the evidence in each individual case when making their decision.