Financial, emotional and physical interdependence
A Judge in the Family Court was recently asked to determine whether two men were in a de facto relationship for 18 years or for 24 years.
The applicant in the case sought a declaration under the Family Law Act that he and another man were in a de facto relationship between March 1987 and January 2011. The respondent sought a declaration that the de facto relationship ended at the end of 2005.
The judge noted that the case was distinguished from other similar cases because the respondent, under cross examination, conceded that at least up until 2010, the applicant would have believed that he was in a de facto relationship with the respondent, as the respondent said he had concealed the fact that he had not resumed the relationship in 2006 from the applicant, as he wished to become financially independent of the applicant.
The Judge considered the duration of the relationship was important and in that matter the view of the respondent was that after 2005, the relationship could be considered to be that of flatmate, friend and business partner. The Judge in considering the sexual relationship between the two men, found that the accuracy of the respondent’s recollections, after the resumption of the relationship in 2006, put some doubt into the situation.
The evidence from witnesses was seen by the Judge to be important and their views, from family and friends were strongly of the belief that the parties were in a de facto relationship until January 2011.
The Judge in summary stated that he was particularly influenced by the fact that the relevant witnesses who gave evidence which supported the view that the couple were in a de facto relationship, came from a range of backgrounds, and included same-sex couples.
The Judge declared that a de facto relationship existed between the parties between March 1987 and January 2011.
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