Property and Parenting Law for defacto and same sex couples - dealt with in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court
Commonwealth laws for the division of property, parenting and spousal maintenance for people in defacto and same sex relationships commenced on 1 March, 2009. It allows defacto and same sex couples to apply under the federal family law regime for a property division, parenting order or spousal maintenance order.
The laws allow a division of any property the couple own, either separately or together. Superannuation of each partner can be split, and spousal maintenance ordered.
The Family Court can make these orders if:
1) the period of the defacto relationship is at least 2 years; or
2) there is a child of the defacto relationship;
3) there is a defacto relationship and the parties have made substantial financial or non-financial contributions to their property, or as a home-maker or parent and serious injustice to that partner would result if the order is not made.
Changes to Commonwealth Laws in 2009
Tax - Same Sex Couples are able to access the same tax concessions available to married and opposite sex couples.
Superannuation - Same Sex couples and their children are eligible as beneficiaries of private sector superannuation funds.
Centrelink - Same sex couples are recognised as a couple for social security and family assistance.
Child Support - new parenting laws that amended the Family Law Act are recognised for child support. Where same sex couples separate and their are children. They are able to apply for child support.
Immigration - Same sex couples and their children are recognised as a family unit the same opposite sex couples. An Australian Citizen, Permanent Resident or New Zealand citizen are able to apply for a partner visa.
Veterans Affairs - changes allow same sex partners to apply for a widower's pension, assistance in purchasing a home and death benefits. The changes also apply to allow the children of the partnership to apply for death benefits.