De facto and same - sex couples and family law

A de facto relationship is when 2 people are not married but have lived together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. The same laws apply to same-sex couples as to heterosexual couples.

 Disputes concerning children will be dealt with in the same way as children of married couples. Children either born to or adopted by same-sex couples will be recognised as children of both parents. This will include: +children born through assisted/artificial conception to lesbian couples +children adpoted by same-sex couples; and +children born under certain surrogacy arrangements recognised under a state or territory scheme Same sex parents are able to be recognised as legal parents in relation to parenting matters and child support. Parenting matters include where the children will live, who they will spend time with, and who will make major long-term decisions. Decisions are made by considering what parenting arrangement would be in the best interest of the child. Child support laws have applied to same sex parents since July 1 2009. This includes where the children were born through assisted conception or were adopted. Although the court will deal with issues relating to children from de facto relationships in the same way as children of married couples, the court may not make orders about property and maintenance issues unless it is satisfied that: +the couple were in a de facto relationship for at least 2 years or a child is born of their de facto relationship +the couple have lived at least a third of their relationship together in Australia (other that WA) +the couple separated after 1 March 2009 There are time limits when it comes to settling your financial matters. You must apply for a court order about property settlement and partner maintenance within 2 years of separating from your partner. The court may allow more time in special circumstances. For more information relating to these matters visit The Family Law Court website (in your state).