Same sex couples, and their families, in Queensland have mostly the same entitlements and obligations as opposite sex de facto couples and their families.
Whilst same sex couples cannot legally marry in Australia, they are able to register their relationship with the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Overseas marriages of same sex couples are also not recognised as marriages in Australia.
Where a child has been born to a couple, both the Queensland and Federal governments recognise both parents regardless of sex.
In Queensland, if the child is born through a formal assisted reproductive technology procedure, whether or not the donor is known, the non-birth parent is identified on the birth certificate of the child. The donor is not considered a parent of the child.
In Queensland, partners of birth mothers are allowed to be included on a birth certificate as “Parent”.
Male same sex couples are entitled to have a child through an altruistic surrogacy arrangement (when a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a child for another couple but she is not paid any money for doing so) and both partners will be legally recognised.
Same sex couples are not able to adopt in Queensland. Whilst de facto couples are legally allowed to adopt, the law specifically excludes same sex couples. Same sex couples can however be considered as foster carers.
If a same sex partnership breaks down, the parties may be required to finalise the future parenting arrangements of any children born of the relationship. The process undertaken in resolving any parenting dispute is the same as an opposite sex de facto relationship and very similar to a marriage.
Same sex couples can own property jointly and have the same rights to property settlement as other de facto couples in Queensland.
Similar to opposite sex de facto relationships and marriages, same sex couples are able to enter into a financial agreement (previously called a cohabitation agreement) during their relationship to anticipate and determine what is to happen upon the breakdown of the relationship in respect of the distribution of any joint or separate property and/or the payment of maintenance.
In the absence of a financial agreement, upon the breakdown of a same sex de facto relationship, the same legal process and methodology is applied to determine a financial settlement as in an opposite sex de facto relationship or marriage case.
Same sex couples can leave property to each other in their wills and each can appoint the other as his or her attorney or statutory health authority.
For more information on family law in relation to same sex couples, or to seek advice on a related family law matter, please contact our experienced family lawyer, Mark Orchard, for a free initial consultation.
Phone: 07 4639 0358