On December 7th, 2017, the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 was changed by the Australian Parliament to provide for marriage equality in Australia. The passing of the Act allowed for marriage in Australia to no longer be determined by gender or sex. The definition of marriage is now ‘the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life’.
Simplified from: (Recognition of foreign same-sex marriages From 9 December 2017, Part VA of the Marriage Act generally recognises existing and future same-sex marriages solemnised overseas under the law of a foreign country where the marriage is valid under the foreign law. Same-sex marriages solemnised in Australia by a diplomatic or consular officer under the law of a foreign country before 9 December 2017 are also recognised.)
Same-sex couples are now able to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage which commences the one-month minimum notice period which is required before marriages are solemnified. Issues of property settlement and parenting issues are treated the same for same-sex couples as they are for married and de facto couples.
Same-sex Relationships and De Facto Relationships
People in same-sex relationships who choose not to get married may be considered to be in a de facto relationship if the correct criteria are met. The Australian Family courts treat same-sex de facto relationships no differently to heterosexual de facto relationships under s 13A of the Interpretation Act 1984 (WA). If the relationship is deemed de facto, then the Family Court of WA may make property orders, including orders on entitlements, just like in a heterosexual marriage. The only difference is that the apportionment of superannuation entitlements does not split or roll over.
Same-sex relationships and Divorce
As with heterosexual marriage, same-sex marriage couples have access to the divorce system. Any couple that gets divorced must demonstrate that the marriage has broken down. The parties must have been separated for at least a year and to have no chance of reconciliation.
Same-sex relationships and Migration – eg. Spouse visa (partner visa)
Same-sex couples are also able to apply for various partner visa.
To apply for same-sex partner Visa, visa applicants must first apply a temporary partner visa and then a permanent partner visa. The applicant also needs to be sponsored by their partner (who they are applying their partner visa with) – who is an Australian or eligible New Zealand citizens or an Australian Permanent Resident.
Proof of your genuine de facto relationship may be evident in the following documents:
Shared legal obligations or commitments
Friends or family who knows about your relationship
Explaining how you and your partner met
Explaining your domestic arrangements, including the nature of your relationship and financial, households and social obligations
For more information, do not hesitate to contact Tan and Tan Lawyers at 9221 2888