A Married man has been found to be in a de facto relationship with sex worker in the de facto jurisdiction.
A recent case before the Full Family Court has reaffirmed the requirements for two people to be considered a de facto couple. This article aims to explain the jurisdictional questions the Family Law Act asks when establishing a de facto relationship and uses a recent Family Court judgment where a married man (Mr Sha) was found to be in a de facto relationship with a sex worker (Ms Cham) as an example case.
In order for two people to be considered a de facto couple they must meet the following jurisdictional requirements:
- Geographical requirement
- Definitional requirement
- Threshold requirement
The geographic requirement is relatively simple and requires that one of the parties ordinarily live in the participating states. The only state that does not participate with the Family Law Act 1975 is Western Australia who have this own legislation. This article does not explain Western Australian Family Law.
The definitional requirements are listed here in the Act and tend to be the requirement most argued over. The circumstances the Act takes into account include the duration of the relationship, whether there is a sexual relationship, the degree of financial dependence, their reputation as a couple, the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life together and many other factors none of which are determinative.
The final requirement is the threshold requirement which states that the Court may only make an order to divide the couples’ property if:
- the period, or the total of the periods, of the de facto relationship is at least 2 years; or
- there is a child of the de facto relationship; or
- there has been substantial contributions by one party or, or the relationship is registered, or
- a failure to make the order would result in a serious injustice.
In the sex worker case mentioned above the following factors were discussed by reference to these
- There was a sexual relationship between the Mr Sha and Ms Cham.
- They had a child together by means of IVF treatment.
- They had signed a prenuptial agreement.
- She stayed over his house overnight regularly.
- They had purchased a lounge and armchair together.
- The fact they had a child together and signed a prenuptial agreement showed a mutual
commitment to a shared life together.
- She had quit her job to look after the child and Mr Sha gave her $2000 a month for living
Because of the above factors the Court found that the parties were in a de facto relationship.
If you think you are in a de facto relationship and need some family law legal advice call Michell Meares, Accredited
Specialist Family Lawyer on (02) 4324 7699 for a free confidential chat on the phone to find out where you stand.