What's the difference between a domestic and de facto relationship?

Published 19 Oct 2016

When it comes to will disputes, there are a number of eligible people. From spouses to grandchildren, depending on your circumstances, you could be eligible to make a claim too.

Unfortunately, there are some terms not everybody is familiar with. One such example are the two terms: Domestic and de facto relationships.

De facto vs. domestic

As Australian society continues to become more progressive, there has been an increasing number of people who do not see marriage as the final step. Instead, they would prefer to live with each other outside of the boundaries of marriage. This is what you call a de facto relationship.

It includes same-sex, registered and intestate relationships. Simply defined, a de facto relationship is a couple living together, who are not married or related to one another. If a court was to determine if a couple are in a de facto relationship, it would look at:

  • the duration of the relationship;
  • the nature of the common residence;
  • if it was a sexual relationship or not;
  • the extent of financial dependence or interdependence; and
  • the ownership of property.

On the other hand, a domestic relationship is a de facto relationship and there exists a close personal bond between the two adults living together. A domestic relationship is also defined by the domestic and personal care provided by both or one of the adults.

Unlike a de facto relationship, a domestic relationship is not defined by its sexuality. The participants may or may not be related.

Why does it matter?

While the differences may not seem salient, it is important to know the difference because each relationship requires its own argument. Luckily, a lawyer experienced in disputing a will can help you understand your circumstances and how it affects your claim.

The important takeaway is that both kinds of relationships allow you to seek redress if you believe a deceased's will has left you in the cold. Additionally, it will also influence the decision made by the courts.

In the instance you go to court to decide the claim, having the right advice and expertise on hand is essential. At Gerard Malouf and Partners Compensation, Medical negligence and Will dispute lawyers, we have experienced staff to support your claim

If you would like to know more, make sure you talk to an expert today. Ask about our no win no fee guarantee as well.

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