Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne is committed to inclusive laws and access to those laws in Australia, including same-sex laws, gay rights, and trans recognition. We believe proudly in ensuring that the entire community has greater, more transparent access to family law services, particularly with the legalisation of gay marriage and lesbian marriage in Australia. We provide services to the community including for example same-sex prenuptial agreements for the start of relationships, advice on whether you are in a de facto relationship and the obligations that may arise, through to divorce and gay and lesbian property separation.
If you are wondering how same-sex marriage might have changed things for the LGBT community from a legal perspective (aside from a boom in the wedding planning industry), we have the answers.
What we often find is underappreciated though is the existing access to family law systems, and the new access that has been provided as a result of this historic change. Our team of experienced lawyers cover a range of family law services, including same-sex marriage, pre-nuptial agreements, immigration and divorce.
Same Sex Marriage
When same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia, the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 commenced. The Act amended the Marriage Act 1961 by redefining the concept of marriage as “the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others” rather than the union of “a man and a woman.”
The team at Nevett Ford is committed to helping same-sex couples overcome any hurdles in order to be lawfully married and to assist in any other areas of family law.
Same-Sex, Bisexual and Transgender De Facto Relationships
We have also found that the recognition of same-sex marriages has led to a significant increase in people in couples realising that they are in fact in de facto relationships, and no longer minimising the nature of their relationship. This has been excellent for people re-evaluating and recognising their worth to a relationship, but has also resulted in people realising that they may be exposed in terms of a claim on their property with their live-in partner.
Cohabitation or Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements, or binding financial agreements, are legally binding agreements between you and your partner about your property. They can be created before, during or after your de facto relationship or marriage, in order to protect your assets.
If you are a same-sex or bisexual couple, looking for clearly defined outcomes of a property settlement in case you separate, consider speaking to one of our lawyers about creating a prenuptial agreement. We are also happy to talk to you about your access to these types of documents if you are unsure whether there might be complications in any of these documents due to the nature of your sexual or gender identity as well, including if there has been a transition before during or after your relationship.
Seeking legal advice is critical and a requirement of the law before entering into any such arrangement.
The Migration Act 1958 allows Australian citizens to bring family members to Australia through the family migration stream. Spouses, fiancés and de facto partners are just a few of the eligible applicants. Prior to 2017, same-sex partners had to apply under an interdependency visa which had stricter criteria compared to partner or spousal visas.
With the legalisation of same-sex marriage, same-sex marriages that have been solemnised in a foreign jurisdiction are now recognised irrespective of the time of the marriage. Therefore, same-sex couples who were married overseas may be automatically considered legally married in Australia.
The new migration pathways for visa applications in same-sex relationships can be quite complex, especially when it comes to navigating the requirements of lodging partner visas. As the migration law changes frequently, it is important to obtain advice from one of our legal professionals before launching any visa application.
In family law, divorce is defined as the irrecoverable breakdown of a relationship between two parties, evidenced by way of at least 12 months of separation. Same-sex couples enjoy the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts, including the right to annul marriage and end the legal binding of two parties.
The issues and obstacles that apply to heterosexual marriages, such as custody of children and matters such as shared care arrangements can affect same-sex marriages as well. If you need a divorce, our experts are here to help you get the resolution you need. The experienced same-sex divorce lawyers at Nevett Ford are ready to resolve your disputes and guide you at every step of the process.
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.
Nevett Ford came 2nd in the 2021 ‘Champions of Pride’ awards in recognition of our commitment, both pledged and implemented, to the advancement of diversity and inclusion initiatives pertaining to legal professionals who identify as LGBTQI+
GET EXPERT ADVICE FROM NEVETT FORD
In family law compared to other areas of law, there is a higher emotional stake for clients as they are dealing with current or former loved ones. In order to determine the best path forward, speak to the team at Nevett Ford. Here are a few reasons why you might wish to access our expert advice:
- Decades of experience and a wide range of service areas means we can draw on knowledge from across our firm to inform your decisions.
- Initial fixed cost consultations, so you know where you stand before committing to a course of action.
- Personal, tailored service that accommodates your needs and what value you will get from our service, instead of one-size-fits-all approach.
- Speak to your lawyer with no ‘gatekeeping’ by support staff.
Get in touch with Nevett Ford today for a comprehensive legal solution.