De Facto and Same Sex relationships

Family Law - Same Sex and De Facto Relationships

In Australia, the family law legislation applicable to de facto couples (including same sex couples) is nearly the same as for married couples.

The Court may make a property and/or maintenance order in relation to a de facto relationship only if they are satisfied that:

  • A de facto relationship has existed for at least 2 years; or
  • There is a child of the de facto relationship; or
  • A party to the relationship made substantial financial and non-financial contributions, and that failure to make the order would result in serious injustice to that party.

Whilst the Family Law Act 1975 sets out a process by which a property settlement should be determined, the Family Law Courts have a broad discretion as to how to deal with each matter.

Everybody’s circumstances are different, and the Court recognises that when determining a property settlement.

If you have separated from your partner, or you are intending to separate, it is important to seek legal advice as to your entitlements both in the long term and in the short term.

If you and your partner have reached an agreement as to the division of your assets, liabilities and financial resources, we are happy to assist you in formalising that agreement and providing you with the appropriate advice.

If you are unable to reach agreement with your former partner, there are a number of avenues to attempt to resolve a family law dispute which do not always involve Court proceedings. Family Dispute Resolution procedures are an important part of this process. Indeed, in children’s matters you will be required to attend mediation or Family Dispute Resolution before commencing Court proceedings (with some exceptions).

Sometimes, it is appropriate to go to Court. If that is necessary our solicitors are well-equipped to provide you with the advice and advocacy you will need.

The Family Law team at Butler McDermott Lawyers are dedicated to assisting you in all your family law matters. We are available to guide you through this difficult time, and assist you in finalising your matter in an appropriate way, as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.

If your de facto relationship broke down prior to 1 March 2009, different rules apply and we suggest that you contact us for legal advice as soon as possible.

Obtaining legal advice early on is always the best approach. Complications can arise the longer a matter remains unresolved. For property and/or maintenance matters relating to de facto relationships, a time limit applies. You have two (2) years from the date of separation to make an Application to the Court. If you do not do so within that timeframe, you have to seek the leave of the Court to apply, and such leave will only be granted under certain circumstances. It is therefore preferable to seek legal advice as early as practicable.

For advice on family law matters, please contact our office today for an appointment.