Domestic (Non-Marital) Relationships in Wills

Published On: February 16, 2022

A Domestic Partnership is a relationship between two adults who are not married to each other but who are a couple, irrespective of gender or whether they live under the same roof, where one or both provide personal or financial commitment and support of a domestic nature for the material benefit of the other. Paid carers are not included.

To assist in determining whether such a relationship exists The Relationships Act 2008 determines that all of the circumstances of the relationship are to be taken into account including:

  • The duration of the relationship
  • The nature and extent of a common residence
  • The degree of financial dependence or interdependence
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life
  • Whether or not a sexual relationship exists
  • The ownership, use and acquisition of property
  • The care and support of children, and
  • The public view and reputation of the relationship.

There is no express requirement that the relationship be exclusive.

Proving a domestic relationship is time consuming and expensive.

A deceased person owes their domestic partner a responsibility to make adequate and proper provision for them in their Will.

Under the laws of Victoria where you do not have a Will (called intestacy) a domestic partner is treated the same way as a spouse. Former spouses or domestic partners are eligible to claim against an estate if they would have been able to take proceedings under the Family Law Act 1975 with such proceedings have been commenced and not completed and they would have been prevented from starting or finishing those proceedings because of the death of the deceased.

For more information contact our Wills & Estates team for advice and assistance. Email us if you would like us to contact you.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide only. You should seek advice for your specific circumstances.

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