Since 1 March 2009 the Australian legal system has recognised same sex relationships as having the same legal rights and obligations as opposite sex defacto relationships.
For example, if you were in a same sex relationship which ended after 1 March 2009 and that relationship lasted for at least two years you may be entitled to a property settlement with your partner.
This entitlement may also arise if there is a child of the relationship or if the relationship lasted less than two years but you have made a substantial financial or non-financial contribution in the relationship and a serious injustice would result if a property settlement was denied. Some States and Territories also allow for the registration of a same sex relationship which formalises recognition of the relationship for property settlement purposes.
Financial Agreements (also referred to as prenuptial agreements if entered into before the relationship commenced) can be made between parties in a same sex relationship. These can be made before, during or after the relationship and set out an agreement between the parties as to how money and assets are to be dealt with in the event the relationship breaks down. We recommend that couples, whether same or opposite sex, give consideration to implementing a Financial Agreement to ensure clarity around their property and financial contributions.
Our family law team is experienced in handling legal issues that arise in same sex relationships. We can assist in unfortunate circumstances where the relationship breaks down but can also provide advice around issues of parentage arising from adoption, artificial conception, surrogacy arrangements and other family law issues unique to same sex relationships. We aim to do so in a compassionate and understanding manner.
Contact Kennedy Spanner for an appointment with one of our family law experts to discuss any legal concerns you may have.