Same Sex Couples Lawyers Perth

What is a same sex couple?

A same sex couple refers to a relationship between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. It may also refer to a relationship in which one of the parties is transgender or intersex.

What kind of rights do same sex couples have in Australia?

Same sex couples have been legally able to get married in Australia since 9 December 2017. Prior to this, people in same sex couples could only be recognised as a de facto couple, if they met the criteria. 

Currently, same sex couples enjoy all the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. 

There are still some differences that arise between de facto couples and married couples.

What is the difference between a married couple and a de facto couple?

Being married means that you have been married by an authorised celebrant, are of marrying age, not married to anyone else and that you are not in a prohibited relationship. 

Being in a de facto relationship means that you are not legally married or related by family, and that you have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis. 

What does it mean to separate?

There are two different types of separation- physical separation and separation under the same roof. 

  • Physical separation- 
    This type of separation is a lot more straightforward and easy to prove. If you have split up with your partner and one of you moves out into different accommodation, it is safe to say that you have separated. 
  • Separation under the same roof- 
    This type of separation can be a bit trickier and require more proof. If you split up with your partner but continue to live in the same residence for whatever reason, this can still be counted as being separated although you are under the same roof.  

Separation under the same roof is a bit different for each couple, but basically means living separate lives. This can include sleeping separately, socialising separately, severing joint bank accounts and doing household chores separately. 

How do I go about sorting out the property I share with my partner?

Unlike other countries, the division of assets and liabilities of a relationship in Australia is not automatically 50/50. 

Family lawyers and the Family Court use a four-stage process for determining the division of assets and liabilities. For advice and information about this four-stage process, please feel free to book an appointment with one of our family and divorce lawyers. 

Same sex couples are treated exactly the same as heterosexual couples when it comes to property division. 

What about arrangements for our children?

Children of same sex couples are treated exactly the same as children of heterosexual couples by the Family Court. 

The Family Court’s paramount consideration when determining parenting arrangements for children under 18 is the best interests of the child. 

When determining best interests, the two primary considerations are: 

  • The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents 
  • The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence. 

When is the best time to get legal advice

There is no right or wrong time to get legal advice, but we do recommend coming in early on in order to be proactive about your separation. Our team of specialist family lawyers can help you understand your legal entitlements. 

MEET JEFF HEWITT

Jeff Hewitt is the head of MKI Legal’s family law team. Jeff is a senior family lawyer with over 16 years’ experience.

Jeff practises exclusively in family law. He has extensive experience in property and financial matters, parenting and children’s matters, de facto property matters, family law matters affecting same sex couples, superannuation splitting, spousal maintenance, divorce, child support, child support agreements, binding financial agreements, and consent orders.

Jeff is an experienced negotiator who takes great pride in resolving disputes and keeping people out of court as much as possible.

In his spare time, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, reading, meditation, and supporting his beloved football team.

Jeff is a member of the Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Western Australia, the Law Society of Western Australia, and the Law Council of Australia (Family Law Section).