Family Law Services
Same Sex Marriage Lawyers
Same-sex marriage in Australia has been legal since 9 December 2017. Most people in a same-sex relationship continue, however, to live in a de facto relationship, as defined by the Family Law Act (“the Act”).
Dimocks Family Lawyers regularly take instructions from gay and lesbian clients.
If you have married, you have the same rights as non-same-sex spouses under the Act. Whether married or de facto, your relationship comes under the purview of the Family Law Act. As such you have an automatic right to bring a claim for property adjustment. Whether you are likely to be successful with such a claim will depend upon factors such as:
- the length of time that you have lived together;
- your contribution to the relationship, whether as a homemaker, parent or by way of a significant financial contribution; and
- your income and ability to support yourself, moving forward.
In order to bring a claim for property settlement as a party to a de facto relationship:
- you must have lived together for two (2) years; or
- if not, you must have:-
- made a significant financial contribution to the relationship; and/or
- a child has been born to your relationship.
If you are to come under the jurisdiction of the Act (which is desirable if you are a de facto claimant, as your future needs and “other factors” will be taken into account), you will also need to have lived at least one third of your relationship in the ”referring State” (such as New South Wales) or, alternatively, have registered your relationship with the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Again, the same considerations under the Family Law Act will apply to your de facto relationship as those applied to straight couples.
Note that any claim of property settlement and/or spousal maintenance must be brought within the following time-limits:
- if you married, within 12 months of a divorce decree becoming final; or
- if you were in a de facto relationship, within the two (2) year period after separation.
If you need to bring a claim outside those periods, then the permission of the Court must firstly be obtained, and such permission may or may not be granted.