Same Sex Couples

The Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and other Measures) Act 2008 provides that De Facto Property Settlement matters where the relationship broke down after 1 March 2009 are to be dealt with by the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court as the same way that those Courts deal with financial matters involving married couples. A de facto relationship can exist between two people of the opposite gender or between two people of the same gender (same sex relationships).

A de facto relationship is defined as being when:-

  • The persons are not legally married to each other;
  • The persons are not related by family;
  • Having regard to all the circumstances of their relationship, they have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

Some considerations that the Court take into account when deciding on the existence of a de facto relationship include:-

  • The duration of the relationship;
  • The nature and extent of the common residence of the parties;
  • Whether a sexual relationship exists;
  • The degree of any financial dependency or interdependency and any arrangements for financial support;
  • The ownership, use and acquisition of the property of the parties;
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  • Whether there are any children to the relationship;
  • The reputation and public aspects of their relationship.

In relation to property settlement for same sex relationships we also note the existence of the Same Sex Relationship (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Law - Superannuation) Act 2008.

In relation to an application for a matter involving children, for the parent making the application it does not matter whether you are a parent stemming from a married, de facto or same sex relationship.