Family Law Library

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Mathews Family Law have created many detailed articles answering the most common questions people have in relation to their rights and Australian Family Law.


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Children of a same sex couple relationship

The laws relating to property settlement at the end of a same sex couple relationship have recently changed. For relationships that have broken down since 1 March 2009, the Family Court now deals with all of the legal aspects of the separation, including any:

  • Child Support Agreement,
  • Parenting Plan or
  • Parenting Order.

Property

One of the most important, and perhaps the most difficult, issue facing couples who separate is the question of ‘who gets what?’ The Family Law Act provides for property settlements same sex couples. Most property settlements are dealt with by the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court.

The laws relating to property settlement at the end of a same sex couple relationship have recently changed. For relationships that have broken down since 1 March 2009, the Court now deals with all of the legal aspects of the separation, including any parenting agreement, property settlement and maintenance. As a result, parties to relationships that have broken down after 1 March 2009 may have more extensive entitlements than they would have had under state law.

Depending on the length and dynamic of the relationship, as well as the way that the parties have arranged their finances, a property settlement can be quite simple or involve complex negotiations.

Both financial and non-financial contributions are taken into account when determining de facto property division. The new changes to de facto laws now allow for future needs and superannuation splitting arrangements to be considered as well. The Court will consider the financial and non-financial contributions made by each party and divide the property in a manner that is just and equitable.

Strict time limits apply to commencing property settlement proceedings in a Court. You must apply for a Court Order within two years from the date your same sex couple relationship ends. It is important that you seek proper legal advice as soon as possible.

The lawyers at Mathews Family Law Melbourne understand the difficulties involved and the unique nature of individual relationships. We have extensive experience negotiating property settlements for couples who have a substantial asset pool, such as a major property/share portfolio or a family business. We understand both the emotional and the commercial implications of splitting assets. We are committed to ensuring a fair settlement is achieved as quickly as possible, we aim to reduce the time taken and therefore the cost to you.

Mathews Family Law is a leading Australian family law firm. Please contact us on +61 3 9804 7991 to speak with our family and divorce lawyers today. You can also send through your enquiry online now and we will contact you shortly.

Separation agreements

Separation agreements are a type of Binding Financial Agreement. A separation agreement is entered into in anticipation of, or at the conclusion of a same sex couple relationship. These agreements can provide for the division of the parties’ property and maintenance.

How to formalise a binding financial agreement

Binding Financial Agreements can be made between parties in a same sex couple relationship. These agreements can be made before, during or after the same sex couple relationship.

Binding Financial Agreements between same sex couples

Parties to a same sex couple relationship can make binding financial agreements. A financial agreement can be made either before the relationship begins at any time during the relationship or on separation. The agreement can cover matters such as:

  • responsibility for expenses;
  • classification of property owned by the parties as either joint or individual property;
  • the categorisation of property acquired during the relationship as either joint or individual;
  • responsibility for debts; and
  • division of property and maintenance if separation occurs.

If you have come to an agreement without legal advice, you should obtain advice before you sign anything. Mathews Family Law can provide you with the advice needed to make an informed decision before you enter into a binding financial agreement. We can also assist by drafting the agreement for you to ensure that it covers all the legal requirements that you may not have thought of.

Mathews Family Law is a Melbourne law firm. Please contact us on +61 3 9804 7991 to speak with a family lawyer from our law firm today. You can also send through your enquiry online now and we will contact you shortly.

Maintenance in Same Sex Relationships

Partners in a same sex couples can now be compelled to pay maintenance to the other partner after separation under the same provisions that apply to separated married couples.

One difference for same sex couple maintenance order is that it will automatically end if the party receiving maintenance marries. In the case of the receiving party entering into a de facto relationship, the paying party can apply to have the order set aside.

Proof of a de facto relationship

A same sex couple relationship is defined as one in which a couple lives together in a genuine ‘domestic situation’.  There will be a close personal relationship between two adults whether related to one another or not, one or each of whom gives domestic support and personal care.

A court will make orders if it is satisfied that:

  • the couple had a child together;
  • the couple lived together for at least two years; or
  • the applicant made financial or non-financial contributions or cared for the other party’s child and injustice would result if an order were not made.

Same sex de facto relationships

The laws relating to property settlement at the end of a same sex de facto relationship have recently changed. For relationships that have broken down since 1 March 2009, the Court now deals with all of the legal aspects of the separation, including any parenting agreement, property settlement and maintenance. As a result, parties to relationships that have broken down after 1 March 2009 may have more extensive entitlements than they would have had under state law.

The lawyers at Mathews Family Law Melbourne understand the difficulties involved and the unique nature of individual relationships. We have extensive experience negotiating property settlements for couples who have a substantial asset pool, such as a major property/share portfolio or a family business. The process of a breakdown in a de facto relationship can be just as complex as divorce. We understand both the emotional and the commercial implications of splitting assets. We are committed to ensuring a fair settlement is achieved as quickly as possible, we aim to reduce the time taken and therefore the cost to you.

In addition to helping couples after a relationship breakdown, we can also provide advice to clients who may be considering entering into a de facto relationship and want to protect their assets and financial independence.

If you have recently ended a same sex couple relationship, or are considering entering into a same sex couple relationship and would like to know how these changes affect you, Mathews Family Law is a leading family law firm in Australia, please contact us on +61 3 9804 7991 to speak with a family lawyer from our law firm today. You can also send through your enquiry online now and we will contact you shortly.

Can my partner and I adopt a child?

Adoption by same-sex couples is legal only in the ACT, Western Australia and New South Wales.

Can a same-sex male couple have a child through international surrogacy?

International commercial surrogacy – hiring a surrogate in another country – is legal in all Australian states EXCEPT Queensland, the ACT and New South Wales.  Some same-sex male couples choose to hire surrogates in the United States or Canada, but this can be very costly.  While fees to the actual surrogate may be only $25,000 – $30,000, the addition of travel, medical, legal and clinic fees may bring the cost up to $100,000 to $200,000.

India is no longer an option for same-sex couples.  In 2012, Indian law changed and only heterosexual couples, married for at least two years, may hire surrogates in India.

There are numerous international treaties and agreements as well as federal and state Australian laws surrounding international surrogacy.  Speak to a family lawyer experienced in issues of surrogacy before starting the process.