At Watson & Watson our clients come first. Please be assured of our continued dedicated services to all current and new clients.

As we have done in the past, we will continue to offer alternative conferencing methods ie video conferencing, skype or telephone conferences. Reviewing of all documentation provided to us prior to any initial conference will be all inclusive of our set fee. Do not hesitate to contact Shereen Da Gloria on (02) 9221 6011 should you have any concerns.

Husband and Husband - Wife and Wife - Same Sex Divorce and Property Division Now Same Sex Marriage and Divorce - Where are we now?


On 9 December 2017 the Federal Parliament passed legislation to amend the Marriage Act of 1961.  Prior to that date it was not possible for persons of the same sex to marry in Australia.  People of the same sex who were in a relationship were regarded as de facto partners and not as married spouses.

This situation meant that there was a difference in the manner in which Family Law property disputes were dealt with as different sections of the Family Law Act 1975 applied depending on whether there was a marriage or a de facto relationship.  In December 2017 the Federal Parliament amended the Marriage Act of 1961 to provide that two people can marry regardless of their sex. Since the amendments in December 2017 the same provisions apply to married couples whether same sex or different sex.

Watson & Watson

Watson & Watson regularly act for same sex couples in relation to marriage, divorce, property division and parenting matters.  In a recent case, Watson & Watson acted for a husband in proceedings for divorce and property settlement after the marriage had broken down.  The background facts were that the husband and husband had been in a de facto relationship in Australia for some years.  They had acquired, sold and purchased properties throughout their relationship.  Whilst it was still not possible for people of the same sex to marry in Australia, they had married overseas in a country that already recognised same sex marriage.  That marriage was recognised under Australian Law. 

Proceedings were commenced in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia as it was then known – now Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia.  The application related only to property division.  Whilst that application for property division was being resolved our client sought advice in relation to how he could divorce his husband.  Watson & Watson advised that an Application for Divorce could be filed in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.  The Application for Divorce was prepared, filed and the divorce hearing prepared.  The Court granted the divorce. 

How do I get divorced?

There is one ground for divorce in Australia and this applies to same sex and heterosexual couples.  There must be an irretrievable breakdown of marriage.  The Court will find that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of marriage if the parties to the marriage have been separated for a period of 12 months.  In the event that the marriage is not more than 2 years, the Court will require a Counselling Certificate.  The Application for Divorce will be filed in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia and so long as the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage is established, the Court will grant the divorce.

How do I end my de facto relationship?

A de facto relationship can be ended by advising your de facto partner that you no longer regard yourself as in a de facto relationship.  If the de facto relationship has been registered in a State of Australia, there will be a need to deregister the relationship. 

How and when do I get a property settlement?

Parties to marriages or de facto relationships can apply to either the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia for property division following the breakdown of marriage or de facto relationship.  Time limits apply. 

Proceedings for property division between married couples must be commenced within 12 months of the date of the divorce. Proceedings for property division between de facto couples must be commenced within 2 years of the date of separation.

Watson and Watson

Watson and Watson provide advice, support and assistance in same sex marriages and same sex de facto relationships for Divorce, Property Division and Parenting.  If you are proposing to divorce or are seeking property/financial settlement from your same sex partner or spouse and are unsure of your rights, our highly experienced Senior Family Law Solicitors can provide clarity and assist you with this process.  Please contact Richard Watson Senior Family Law Solicitors or his Personal Assistant Shereen Da Gloria to discuss your matter and seek appropriate advice.

This is only a preliminary view and is not to be taken as legal advice without first contacting Watson & Watson Solicitors on 9221 6011.

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