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In the realm of relationship recognition, one frequently asked question is, “Do I have to cohabit with my partner for our relationship to be considered de facto?” Let’s delve into the intricacies.

Establishing De Facto Status for Inheritance

In a de facto relationship at the time of your partner’s passing, New South Wales intestacy laws grant rights equivalent to a married partner. Intestacy situations, where no valid will exists, highlight the importance of establishing de facto status.

Inheritance Rights and Considerations

De facto partners in New South Wales generally inherit a substantial portion, if not the entirety, of the deceased estates. The extent of inheritance, however, depends on the estate’s size and the familial landscape at the time of death. This could potentially disadvantage other close family members or beneficiaries.

Factors Crucial in Establishing a De Facto Relationship

Proving a de facto relationship necessitates presenting detailed evidence. The court places emphasis on factors such as a common residence, joint finances, societal perception of the couple, cohabitation, and a sexual relationship.

High Court’s Definition and Considerations

In Fairbairn v Radecki [2022] HCA 18, the High Court shifted focus to a holistic evaluation of the relationship’s circumstances from mere physical cohabitation. The breakdown of a de facto relationship, according to the High Court, is determined by assessing the parties’ commitment to sharing a life, irrespective of their living arrangements.

Lifetime Commitment Beyond Living Arrangements

The High Court’s approach emphasises that a de facto relationship isn’t solely dependent on shared living space. It can persist even when parties no longer cohabit voluntarily or involuntarily, as seen in cases where one party moves to an aged care residence.

Contact Access Law Group

For a thorough understanding of your de facto partner inheritance status, we provide a discounted initial consultation. Reach out to us at 02 4220 7100 or via email at