“Coupledom” factors necessary to prove a de facto relationship
When were the parties in a de facto relationship?
- The parties dispute when their relationship became a de facto relationship. The Applicant says that it was from February 2009 when the Respondent moved some of his belongings into her home in B Town, while the Respondent says that it commenced when they moved into C Town together. It may be readily seen that by the stage the parties moved into C Town, they were in a de facto relationship. The question that arises is whether the de facto relationship commenced some time before this.
- A number of the matters outlined above point toward a mutual commitment to a shared life, or “coupledom”. The public appearance of being in a relationship on the trip to new Zealand when the Applicant was pregnant with their first child; the presentation of a ring to the Applicant; the Respondent travelling with the Applicant to new Zealand when her mother was dying; the Respondent’s use of the Applicant’s house as a home base as he travelled to his various positions; their having a child together.
- Against this there are a number of matters that point away from them being in a de facto relationship. The Applicant records them as of different addresses on the birth certificate; the application for a child support assessment by the Applicant; the lack of the description of the Respondent as her spouse in her tax returns prior to the 2012 year; the Respondent not living with the Applicant as he travelled to back-to-back positions (although failure to co reside is not fatal to the idea a de facto relationship was in existence).
- The matter that removes the ambiguity from the situation is the point at which the Respondent commenced to significantly financially support the Applicant, which was by mid-2011, before they moved into C Town together. Although there is no specific date allocated to this event, it is around this time that they may be considered to be living together on a genuine domestic basis. The de facto relationship commenced in approximately June 2011.
- The parties further agree that they ended their de facto relationship on 18 July 2013. While they were in a relationship from January 2009, the de facto relationship was only in existence for approximately two years.
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