As of the 9th January 2018, it is legal for couples of the same sex to get married in Australia. Aside from gaining equality when it comes to being an Australian citizen, there are actually some very important legal benefits that come with being able to marry a partner of the same sex.
Below are some of the very real issues that same-sex couples have faced, and what it now means after a historic postal and parliamentary vote resulted in a ‘Yes’.
1. The choice of who to marry and have it recognised by the State
Previous to the law being passed, not only were same-sex couples not allowed to marry in Australia, but if they were to get married overseas, the marriage was not recognised at home. The amended Marriage Act means that same-sex couples are now allowed to marry in Australia and overseas, with overseas unions now fully recognised in Australia, too.
2. Legal parent of their non-biological child
Previously, if same-sex couples conceived a child, but later ended their relationship, the non-biological parent would have had to prove, via an exhaustive process, that they were once in a de facto relationship with the other party. However, with the recent legalisation of same-sex marriage, under the Family Law Act the non-biological parent will now automatically become the legal parent of the child, removing this obstacle.
3. Entitlement to make a property claim
As per the previous point, same-sex couples once had to prove they were in a de facto relationship and meet very strict criteria before they were able to make a property claim, if their relationship broke down.
Now that same-sex marriage is legal, married couples do not need to provide evidence of their relationship before undertaking the normal process of a property claim.
4. Rights in the event of death
In the unfortunate circumstance that a partner dies, the new legislative changes mean that people in same-sex marriages are given equal rights in the event of a death. How this impacts the surviving partner will depend on the State or Territory of residence, however the legalisation of same-sex marriage makes the legal minefield a little easier to navigate, during what can be a very sad time.
If you’d like to read further about our family law services, you can do so here.
If you are in a same-sex relationship and need more advice or information on family law, wills & estates or your rights, you can contact us so we can discuss your needs during a free 30 minute consultation.