Cohabitation

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Cohabitation

  • Cohabitation or otherwise known as a close personal relationship.[1]
  • A close personal relationship is defined as a relationship (other than a marriage or a de facto relationship) between two adult persons, whether or not related by family, who are living together, one or each of whom provides the other with domestic support and personal care.[2]
  • “Living together”
    • This test of whether the notion or concept of living together is satisfied is an objective one. It involves assessing the nature and extent of the claimed common residence as well as other aspects of the relationship.
    • Need the following elements[3]:
      • Co-habitation, although not necessarily fulltime; however, there must be sufficient shared residence, which invites a consideration of such factors as whether the person said to be living together had a common residential address; where not absent temporarily for holiday, employment or for other reasons; and where they usually kept their clothing, domestic and personal effects, regardless of the number of days or nights spent, perhaps, at another place;
      • Physical proximity in the same residence, in the sense of simultaneous physical presence;
      • Some personal association with each other;
      • The sharing of facilities of day-to-day living on a regular and recurrent basis, often described as sharing a household, including but not limited to, the performance of domestic tasks;
      • Deciding household questions together and, whilst a social and economic partnership of the parties is not required, there should be a sharing of the burden of maintaining a household;
      • Regarding the place, or places, in which the two adults live as “their home”;

There being no present intention of definite or early removal, a continuity of association with the place; remaining for an undetermined period, not infrequently, but not necessarily combined with design to stay permanently.

[1] Property (Relationship) Act 1984 s 3(1).

[2] Christopher Lawrence, ‘Family Provision Claims under the Succession Act 2006 (NSW)’ (7 March 2014) Law Society 1.

[3] Harkness v Harkness [2011] NSWSC 1421 [42].