De Facto & Same-Sex Relationship Law

In defacto & same-sex relationship law, changing societal views and legal recognition acknowledge that family structures take many forms.

For example, when the Australian Government’s same-sex relationship reform package passed through Parliament in November 2008, it removed discrimination against same-sex de facto couples and their families. This reform sees changes across a range of areas including but not limited to taxation, superannuation, social security and family assistance.  Previous restrictions were also lifted on access to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Safety Net, and the Medicare Safety Net, aged care, veterans’ entitlements, immigration and citizenship.

Importantly, current laws allow those leaving an unsuccessful same-sex relationship to now pursue property and financial settlement following their separation using the same laws and Court as a mixed gendered couple. Under the amended legislation, same-sex couples can also apply for child support with the Child Support Agency.

Same-sex Relationship, Defacto & Same-sex Relationship Law, Merridy Elphick Lawyers


Same-sex married couples are now treated in the same way as all married couples under the Family Law Act. In that, there is a single ground for divorce: irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.

When granting a divorce, a Court needs to be satisfied that the parties to the marriage have been separated for not less than twelve months prior to an Application for Divorce being filed and that there is no reasonable likelihood of reconciliation between the parties.

Children & Parenting Matters

The Family Law Act allows any interested party (including males in same-sex relationships) to apply for parenting Orders relating to a child of the relationship.

This includes any adult who may have an ongoing relationship with the child, the family dynamic and parental or guardian responsibilities.

Property Settlement

When determining what Order to make in property matters concerning de facto or same-sex parties,  the factors to be considered include but are not limited to the following:

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Merridy Elphick Lawyers specialise in defacto & same-sex relationship law and are ready to provide more information on how we can help you.