Is it a Defacto Relationship? A FIFO worker.
You might think the definition of a de facto relationship is pretty simple, but a recent court decision has proved the devil really is in the detail. The case also highlighted the ramifications this has for Australia’s large population of fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers.
In this case, a female FIFO worker appealed the court’s decision that she was in a de facto relationship during a three year period from April 2007 until late 2010.
Her former partner had been applying for a de facto property adjustment settlement.
The FIFO worker alleged that “no de facto relationship existed” due to the following circumstances:
- She only lived at his residence between the periods April 2007 until July 2008; late 2008 to early 2009; and July to October 2013.
- She was a fly in fly out worker, so she would reside with him while she worked in that town and would also travel to live with her children in another town for a period of two weeks.
- She resided at his property rent free in exchange for caring for him, undertaking housekeeping chores for him and assisting him with his finances.
- The pair had travelled together between 2010 to 2014.
- She considered their relationship purely platonic.
However the judge disagreed and held that a de facto relationship did exist, given:
- The parties had shared a common residence for approximately three years.
- A sexual relationship existed between them.
- There had been a significant intermingling of funds by the parties. For instance, the funds of his had been used to reduce her mortgage over two properties.
- Particular persons in the town considered the parties a couple.
- Her children supported that the couple’s relationship had ceased in 2010.
The court’s assessment of whether or not a de facto relationship exists is done on a case-by-case basis.
In this case, the FIFO worker was ordered to pay her former partner’s costs associated with the appeal.
For tailored legal advice regarding your family law situation, please contact Michael Lynch Family Lawyers. Our experts are here to help you. Call our office on: (07) 3221 4300 or email: [email protected]