Australia: Court rules gay men who shared house for seven years were ‘friends with benefits’

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A court in Queensland has rejected a property claim on the basis the applicant only engaged in a “friends with benefits” relationship with the man he lived with.

According to 9News, the younger man of the couple had claimed he was the de facto partner of the older man.

However, lawyer Nicholas Stewart, acting for the older man, said his client did not engage in an exclusive relationship and only welcomed the younger man “to share household duties and occasionally each other’s beds.”

The pair also sometimes shared “significant events” such as Christmas, and went out socially on occasion, the court heard.

Mr Steward added: “The applicant claimed the two men had been in a de facto relationship of shared life and commitment, and the younger man wanted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the older man’s retirement portfolio.”

The older man had children from a previous relationship and wanted to protect his assets.

Federal Circuit Court Judge John Coker ruled last week he was “not overly convinced” there was a de facto relationship because the younger man could not provide evidence of contributing to household expenses.

Mr Stewart said the legal recognition of “friends with benefits” set an important precedent for future opportunistic property claims.

He added: “We were aware of the concept of ‘friends with benefits’ but the principle had never been tested in Commonwealth family law.

“It really shows the liberated nature of gay relationships and also that society is changing.

“You will find gay and straight people living together who don’t have a commitment.”