Monday, September 5, 2011

Being a 'kept’ woman (or man) may not be a de facto relationship

Following last week's post, I was reminded of a case from earlier in 2011 that involved a lady who had been a part of a secret intimate relationship with a married family man for 17 years.

According to her evidence, she and the man involved 'spent time together at various times in various places, had a sexual relationship, and expressed love and affection for each other'. The argument being that this was a 'de facto relationship' within the meaning of section 4AA of the Family Law Act (which was summarised in an earlier post).

The man denied 'any such relationship’, and instead claimed it was simply 'an affair' and the lady was a 'kept woman’. Both parties agreed that they travelled overseas together and the man paid the lady $24,000 to help her buy a home and $2,000 monthly, increasing progressively to $3,000 a month.

While the court rejected the man’s argument that 'exclusivity' was necessary for a de facto relationship to exist, the facts here did not support the lady’s argument that they were de factos.

The quote that best captured the decision here was as follows:

“the key to that definition (i.e. de facto) is the manifestation of a relationship where both the parties have so merged their lives that they were, for all practical purposes 'living together' as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. It is the manifestation of 'coupledom' which involves the merger of two lives as just described, that is the core of a de facto relationship as defined and to which each of the statutory factors (and others that want to apply to a particular relationship) are directed”.

Until next week.