A lot of people think wonder if there are different laws pertaining to same sex marriages, same sex divorces, and the considerations needed when hiring a same sex divorce lawyer.
In this article, we cover the topic of same sex divorce, and what people going through a same sex relationship breakdown should consider when hiring a same sex divorce lawyer.
Is there any difference between a same sex marriages/divorces and other marriages?
Since the legalisation of marriage equality in 2017, same sex marriages have been regarded as essentially the same as any other marriage, and thus by default same sex divorce is the same as other divorces.
When a couple experience a breakdown in their relationship to the point that it can’t be repaired and wish to seek a divorce they can either:
- Make a joint divorce application
- Have one party make a sole application, who will then need to serve it to the other party.
As with all couples, there are certain criteria that couples must meet to be eligible for divorce. These include:
- Being born in Australia or being an Australian citizen by descent
- Being Australian by grant of citizenship
- Having been living in Australia for the past 12 months
- Being separated for 12 months or longer. These 12 months don’t necessary have to be consecutive
- Providing affidavits and additional proof if you’ve been separated for 12 months while living under the same roof.
- Having a marriage certificate
- Providing counselling certificate in your application If you’ve been married less than 2 years
It is also important to keep in mind that a divorce can cost up to $940 AUD and that if there are children in the marriage, you will have to make separate and specific parenting arrangements including living arrangements, after school care and financial support.
Similarly, since the legalisation of marriage equality, same sex couples are no longer hindered to divorce if they got married outside Australia. As long as you meet the criteria listed above, you will be able to file an application for a divorce if you’re in a same sex couple.
If you are in a same sex marriage and want to start divorce proceedings, read this article.
Selecting a same sex divorce lawyer
Now that you know that there is no difference between same sex marriages and opposite sex marriages, you may be wondering if there are any special considerations to consider when hiring a lawyer or same sex divorce lawyer.
Technically, there aren’t special considerations when selecting a same sex divorce lawyer, but there a few things you should weigh out so you know you’ve hired a good lawyer.
- Experience and specialisation: hire a lawyer with extensive experience in the area of your case. In the case of same sex divorces, hire a family lawyer that has divorced same sex couples before.
- Cultural and social sensitivity: Ensure the lawyer is culturally and socially sensitive and progressive and doesn’t hold any biases or concealed homophobia. You want a legal expert that is firmly in your corner and has your absolute best interests at heart.
- Accessibility: hire a lawyer that gives you time, listens to your concerns and knows the ins and outs of your case intimately. A same sex divorce lawyer, like any other lawyer must make time for their clients and give them their fair share of attention.
- Ethics and professionalism: This is a big one. If your lawyer shares sensitive information with you about other clients or has suspicious billing practices, you need to move on to another lawyer.
We’ve written this guide on when it’s time to change your lawyer and how to do that.
Our team has experience in all family law matters, including same sex divorces. Contact us here for a confidential consultation or if you have any questions relating to same sex marriages and divorce.
Principal of Justice Family Lawyers, Hayder specialises in complex parenting and property family law matters. He is based in Sydney and holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Communications from UTS.