Same-Sex Couples – Knowing Your Rights
Broadly speaking, there is very little difference between the laws that apply to married couples upon separation, and those applying to same-sex couples in the same situation. Same-sex couples who have separated may well need advice in relation to the following:
- Consent Orders;
- property settlement;
- spousal maintenance;
- parenting arrangements for their children;
- child support; and
- court proceedings.
While the law applies in very similar ways, there are differences, and same-sex couples should take advice at the earliest opportunity to avoid falling into some common traps, such as:
- Only having two years from the date of separation to file an application for property settlement or spousal maintenance;
- Not being recognised as the parent of your child, where that child was conceived through an artificial conception procedure (such as IVF, or even the “turkey baster”);
- Not being able to split superannuation as part of the property settlement (this applies to de facto couples in Western Australia only);
- Different rules applying in the case of one spouse going bankrupt (this applies to de facto couples in Western Australia only).
We strongly recommend that same-sex couples seek advice from an experienced family lawyer about these issues at the earliest opportunity, to avoid problems down the track.
Same-sex couples are also able to take advantage of financial agreements, which enable spouses to agree, up-front, what is to happen with their assets in the event of separation.
If you would like advice on any aspect of same-sex relationship law, please contact us to book an appointment. We have represented many members of the LGBTIQ community and are acutely aware of the specific issues / challenges you may encounter upon a relationship breakdown.