Interpretation Act 1987 No 15
Current version for 24 February 2014 to date (accessed 19 December 2014 at 14:15)
Part 2Section 21C

21C   References to de facto partners and de facto relationships

(1) Meaning of “de facto partner”
For the purposes of any Act or instrument, a person is the de facto partner of another person (whether of the same sex or a different sex) if:
(a)  the person is in a registered relationship or interstate registered relationship with the other person within the meaning of the Relationships Register Act 2010, or
(b)  the person is in a de facto relationship with the other person.
(2) Meaning of “de facto relationship”
For the purposes of any Act or instrument, a person is in a de facto relationship with another person if:
(a)  they have a relationship as a couple living together, and
(b)  they are not married to one another or related by family.

A de facto relationship can exist even if one of the persons is legally married to someone else or in a registered relationship or interstate registered relationship with someone else.

(3) Determination of “relationship as a couple”
In determining whether 2 persons have a relationship as a couple for the purposes of subsection (2), all the circumstances of the relationship are to be taken into account, including any of the following matters that are relevant in a particular case:
(a)  the duration of the relationship,
(b)  the nature and extent of their common residence,
(c)  whether a sexual relationship exists,
(d)  the degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between them,
(e)  the ownership, use and acquisition of property,
(f)  the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life,
(g)  the care and support of children,
(h)  the performance of household duties,
(i)  the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

No particular finding in relation to any of those matters is necessary in determining whether 2 persons have a relationship as a couple.

(4) Meaning of “related by family”
For the purposes of subsection (2), 2 persons are related by family if:
(a)  one is the child (including an adopted child) of the other, or
(b)  one is another descendant of the other (even if the relationship between them is traced through an adoptive parent), or
(c)  they have a parent in common (including an adoptive parent of either or both of them).
(5)  Subsection (4) applies:
(a)  even if an adoption has been declared void or is of no effect, and
(b)  to adoptions under the law of any place (whether in or out of Australia) relating to the adoption of children.
(6)  Subsection (4) applies in relation to a child whose parentage is transferred as a result of a parentage order, or an Interstate parentage order, within the meaning of the Surrogacy Act 2010 in the same way as it applies in relation to an adopted child, even if the parentage order is discharged or otherwise ceases to have effect. For that purpose, a reference in that subsection to an adoptive parent is to be read as a reference to a person to whom the parentage of a child is transferred under such a parentage order.
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