LGBTQI+ & Same-Sex Lawyer Melbourne

LGBTQI+ & Same-Sex Lawyers

Leading Family Lawyers For LGBTQI+ Relationships.

In Australia, under the Family Law Act, LGBTQI+ relationships are treated identically to heterosexual relationships in relation to property, maintenance, and parenting matters. LGBTQI+ relationships, especially same-sex relationships can face some extra challenges in family law, namely around legal parentage.

Our Melbourne family lawyers are compassionate, highly experienced and will advocate tirelessly on your behalf. If you are separating or have separated from your marriage or de facto partner or are looking to protect your assets in a current relationship, we can provide help with the following:

  • Preparing and advising on agreements for property and spousal maintenance between you and your partner.
  • Helping you satisfy the requirements for obtaining a divorce order including preparing required documents for the Court.
  • Preparing interim orders and parenting plans, negotiating with the other party, conducting mediation sessions, completing the Family Dispute Resolution process, and representing you in the Family Court, as required.
  • Advising on each parent’s child support obligations and registering an agreement with the Child Support Agency (CSA) or Family Court for consent orders (for children over 18 years of age).
  • Provide specialist information on unique legal issues that arise in LGBTIQ+ relationships

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    LGBTIQ+ Relationships & Family Violence

    Domestic violence is prevalent not only in heterosexual relationships but also in LGBTIQ+ relationships. In fact, studies have shown that LGBTIQ+ individuals are more likely to experience family violence but less likely to report it or seek support. There are real barriers, such as homophobia that make it difficult to access support in these situations of family violence.

    Our compassionate and sensitive team of family violence lawyers are here to support you. We can assist in applying for intervention orders (IVOs) or help in defending an IVO against you.

    How Can A Family Lawyer Help?

    Our team of family lawyers provide legal advice on all LGBTIQ+ relationships, including same-sex family law issues, whether it’s the divorce process, property division, spousal maintenance or parenting arrangements or child support.

    If you are separating or thinking about separation from your relationship, then we strongly recommend gaining legal advice from a family lawyer which is relevant to your circumstances.

    Having the help of a family lawyer experienced in LGBTQI+ relationships from the start will ensure you have the information you need to make informed decisions and give you control of the situation.

    The team at Sage Family Lawyers will work hard to find common ground and a path forward. And in the situation that court proceedings are necessary, we will expertly represent you to achieve the best outcome for you and your family.

    We listen to your concerns and provide expert advice and genuine caring support through what is a stressful time. Our LGBTQI+ lawyers work tirelessly to mitigate the burden and stress on you through the entire process.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How Can I Protect My Assets in a Same-Sex Relationship?

    The same property settlement laws apply equally to same-sex partnerships and heterosexual relationships. There are several options to protect your assets in a de facto relationship or marriage.

    We’ve helped our many clients from the LGBTIQ+ community with negotiations with the other party and the preparation of a Binding Financial Agreement(BFA). A BFA is a legally binding agreement between parties that sets out how assets and liabilities and/or spousal maintenance will be distributed in the instance that the relationship breaks down.

    They can be created before, during or after your de facto relationship or marriage, in order to protect your assets.

    Do I have the Same Rights in My Same-Sex De Facto Relationship as in Heterosexual De Facto Relationships?

    Yes, the rights of same-sex de facto relationships are exactly the same in regards to property and spousal maintenance claims and parental matters. De facto relationships have broadly the same rights as married couples.

    With all de facto relationships, to be considered de facto, you need to have lived together on a genuine domestic basis. Our de facto lawyers can advise if you meet the eligibility for a de facto relationship if you aren’t sure if you are in a de facto relationship and any obligations that may arise.

    What Are My Rights if I Am Not the Biological Parent of My Child?

    Same-sex parenting is legal in Australia and is possible in a number of ways for both gay and lesbian couples. Most same-sex couples will use assisted reproductive technology such as vitro fertilisation or intrauterine insemination.

    In the instance that your de facto relationship or marriage breaks down, under the Family Law Act, provisions relating to children’s arrangements are exactly the same for heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Under the Act, the Court is required to consider the best interests of the child when making decisions on parenting arrangements.

    Where it becomes complex is in relation to biological parentage and the rights of sperm donors. For instance, if a lesbian couple uses a sperm donor, the donor could be considered the legal parent of a child in certain cases, and have an obligation to pay child support and could even apply for custody.

    A gay male couple might use a surrogate to carry a child. The Family Law Act allows you to transfer parentage from the surrogate to the eventual parents. However, there are strict laws around surrogacy, so it’s essential to gain legal advice before starting this process.

    For the above reasons, it should be a top priority for same-sex couples to have legal parentage in place to protect themselves in these situations. If you are in a same-sex relationship and considering having children, obtaining the right legal advice at the early stages of your plan is vital.

    Our family lawyers can assist with parenting plans, parenting orders, child support and sperm donor agreements, egg donor agreements and parental transfer.

    How Does Same-Sex & Other LGBTIQ+ Relationships Divorce Work?

    Same-sex couples and other LGBTQI+ couples have been able to legally marry since an amendment to the Marriage Act on December 9th 2017. The Act now defines marriage as ‘the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life’.

    Individuals in a same-sex marriage, as well as other LGBTQI+ marriages, have the exact same rights as heterosexual marriages and are subject to the same divorce process.

    To obtain a divorce, parties must first demonstrate that the marriage has broken down ‘irretrievably’. This is evidenced by being separated for at least 12 months. Our divorce lawyers can advise you on the process for gaining divorce and help with the divorce application.

    My Partner and I Share Assets, What Happens If We Separate or Divorce?

    If you are in a de facto relationship or a marriage, you may be subject to a property settlement under the Family Law Act. The Family Courts or the Federal Circuit Court will consider all of your assets, and your partners’ assets in the property pool as well as any liabilities in determining a property split.

    However, many couples choose to resolve property distribution via legal financial agreements, like BFAs or consent orders, and without the Court needing to make a final decision.

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