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LGBTQI+ Parenting

Nevett Ford’s family lawyers are committed to ensuring queer and gender diverse are provided with expert legal advice pertaining to their parenting rights.

Our team of expert family lawyers work closely with our clients to assist them through the potentially complex legal issues that may arise when you begin your parenthood journey as an LGBTQI+ couple. We are dedicated to providing solid and actionable legal advice that is tailored and empathetic to the individual circumstances of our clients.

Whether you are looking to embrace parenthood through adoption, assisted conception procedures like IVF or surrogacy, or want a better understanding of your legal rights as an LGBTQI+ parent upon separation, get in touch with us and we will be able to assist you.

Why Choose
Nevett Ford

Supportive and Inclusive

We understand same-sex or diverse parenting is a complex area of family law and has a higher emotional stake for clients as it involves the close bond between parents and children. Hence, we always consider the nuances of LGBTQI+ family law cases in a supportive and inclusive manner.

Extensive Experience

Our team of dedicated family lawyers at Nevett Ford have years of experience handling legal matters specific to LGBTQI+ relationships. We also have a wide range of service areas where we can draw on knowledge from across our firm to inform your decisions.
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Initial Fixed Cost Consultations

We value transparency. Hence, we always ensure our clients know where they stand in a case before committing to a course of action.

Personal and Tailored Service

Our family lawyers are trained to accommodate all your needs. We work closely with our clients to ensure you get a service tailored to your individual situation instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

Case #1

A client came to get advice from us, and at the start of that engagement assumed that his entitlements as a partner in a long-term same sex relationship were not equivalent to or comparable to those made by parties in a long-term heterosexual relationship by virtue of the nature of the relationship. He was willing to accept a very low outcome as a result. Having received advice from us, and engaged us to act, he obtained an outcome significantly more advantageous to him, and in line with what the Family Law Act 1975 would expect for a man in his situation.

Case #2

A separated woman previously in a same sex relationship consulted us in relation to parental rights including access and parental responsibility that were being denied to her not because of a denial by the other party that there was a long term relationship or that the child had a meaningful relationship with her, but simply by nature of the woman’s role in the donor insemination, where our client was not a biological parent. As a result of some quick intervention and the intercession of the Court, the woman not spends significant and substantial time with her son.

Case #3

A trans woman consulted us about the division of her property with her girlfriend, who was insisting on using our client’s former name (which she legally changed) in correspondence, causing greater hurt and harm to our client. We ensured that the correct name was used on all documents, and assisted with ensuring that manipulative or damaging behaviour should not be tolerated simply because you are in dispute with someone.

Award Recipient of the Lawyers Weekly Champions of Pride 2021

Nevett Ford was awarded runner-up in the Champions of Pride 2021 hosted by Lawyers Weekly. This is in recognition of our commitment, both pledged and implemented, to advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives pertaining to clients as well as legal professionals who identify as LGBTQI+

We will continue to support the move towards inclusion and celebration of diversity so that no one is discriminated against, especially in the eyes of the law.

FAQ

Can same-sex couples adopt a child in Victoria?
Yes. The Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Act 2015 in Victoria allows LGBTQI+ couples to adopt under the same circumstances as any other couple.
What if the law does not recognise me or my partner as a legal parent?
You may apply to the Family Courts to make a parenting order in favour of yourself or your partner.

According to Section 64(c) of the Family Law Act, an applicant can be “any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child”.

What is the scope of the Family Law Act's parenting orders for same-sex couples?
The parenting orders for same-sex couples may include parental responsibility involving long-term decisions regarding the child’s welfare or where and with whom the child will live or spend time.

It is crucial to keep in mind that in considering all scenarios, the Family Law Act prioritises the best interests of a child in all decisions relating to parenting.

Can same-sex couples legally resort to IVF and surrogacy?
In Victoria, the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 allows women and lesbian couples to access assisted conception procedures such as IVF and surrogacy.

However, the usual criteria – Victorian Criminal (Police) Record Check and Child Protection Order check – must be met before the couple access this procedure prior to commencing treatment.

Will same-sex couples be recognised as parents of a child born from IVF or surrogacy?
The amended Family Law Act in 2008, in particular Section 60(h), recognises both members of a lesbian partnership as parents of a child born of an assisted conception procedure.

This applies as long as the biological lesbian mother was married to or is a de facto partner of the other intended lesbian co-mother, and the parties both consented to the carrying out of the procedure. Otherwise, the non-biological mother may not legally be considered the child’s other parent.

Additionally, Section 13 of the Status of Children Act 1974 (Victoria) states that the man who produced the semen used in the procedure is presumed not to be the father of any child born as a result of the pregnancy, or has no legal status in respect of the child, whether or not he is anonymous.

Does the same law apply to a gay male partnership?
In a scenario where a gay male couple has a child through surrogacy, this child will have a birth mother (woman bearing the child) and two gay co-fathers. If the child is conceived through intercourse, the gay biological father will be the legal parent together with the child’s birth mother.

Otherwise, the birth mother will be the legal parent or mother of the child because the parenting presumption does not favour a gay co-father or gay couple unless the birth mother allows the couple to adopt the child.

Fortunately, gay male couples can apply to the Family Courts for a parenting order as “other people significant to the care, welfare and development of the child”. Gay male couples who do not formalise their parental rights in this way may not have the legal right to make decisions in relation to their child.

What happens if a same-sex couple wishes to have commercial surrogacy done abroad?
If commercial surrogacy is not permitted under particular State law, then parties who have entered into a commercial surrogacy arrangement, for example, overseas, will not be recognised as parents in the same way as a couple who enter into “altruistic” surrogacy arrangements can be.

Who You’ll Work With

Richard Hamilton
Catalano Clay
Erin Trantino
Jenny Christofidis
Maggie Wang
Stacey Raphael

CONTACT US

for a free 10 min obligation-free phone consultation

Nevett Ford Melbourne Pty Ltd

ABN: 80 144 697 790

Level 16, South Tower, Rialto Building, 525 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000