“Coupledom” factors necessary to prove a de facto relationship

“Coupledom” factors necessary to prove a de facto relationship

When were the parties in a de facto relationship?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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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