Increasing rates of separation between same-sex couples spark concern


Many same-sex couples are deciding to part ways. This number is steadily growing year after year and opens multiple areas for concern, especially when children are involved. 



When a same-sex relationship breaks down and is believed to be irreconcilable, many questions and concerns tend to float to the surface that may not have been taken into account before the relationship started. Who gets what? How do you divide the property fairly? What assets and liabilities are whose? What happens if there is a child involved?

The legal distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex is now mostly one and the same. This includes the recognition of their conjunctional matters; superannuation, taxation, social security, inheritance, and support for veterans. DA Family Lawyers in Brisbane are professionals at settling separation agreements between same-sex couples.

Can same-sex relationships be considered de facto? 

Queensland State legislation articulates that a de facto relationship is a relationship between a man and woman who live together as husband and wife – although not legally married. Same-sex couples can also be considered to be in a de facto relationship where the same laws that govern heterosexual separation apply.

If a same-sex relationship is considered de facto, the law will generally take the following into account when deciding who gets what in a separation, such as:

  • Financial resources (income, superannuation, investments etc.)
  • Any circumstance that impacts either partner’s earning capacity throughout the duration of the relationship
  • Assets and liabilities for both parties
  • Children under your care
  • Any financial or non-financial contributions made toward the relationship


Same Sex Population

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has collected data surrounding the social trends in same-sex couples from 1996 to 2011 with some rather interesting discoveries.

Couples of the same-sex make up around 1% of all couples in Australia. While this may not seem like a considerable amount, same-sex couples have more than tripled during the 15 years between 1996 and 2011. As some speculation may surround the reason for these statistics, the common consensus agrees that social acceptance of homosexuality is a dominant catalyst.

Same-sex couples with children

Same-sex couples are not legally allowed to adopt a child in Australia but they may be considered foster carers. Children living with same-sex couple families are only making up 0.1% of all children living with coupled parents in Australia. The interesting detail within this finding is that 89% of the same-sex couples with children are female.

Wanting to separate when children are involved can be especially difficult due to the nature of same-sex couple relationships; the genetic mother, the egg donor vs the carrier, established relationships and financial stability will all be taken into account when settling a dispute.

Certain laws under the Family Law Act 1975 can apply to separating same-sex couples for parenting cases. Determining the ‘parent’ however can be more difficult as the Family Law Act does not define the word ‘parent’. Such matters consider whether the child was conceived via artificial conception (e.g. IVF), surrogacy or a co-parenting arrangement i.e. two lesbian mothers, one single male and vice-versa.

If you are in a same-sex relationship and wanting to separate from your partner where children are involved, contact DA Family Lawyers in Brisbane. Or if you are a in a same-sex relationship and are looking to have a surrogate and require a surrogacy agreement drawn up in this regard, contact DA Family Lawyers in Brisbane.

Income and Education in same-sex couples

Same-sex couples tend to have achieved a higher level of education when compared to opposite sex couples. A consistent measure with their education; income was also above that of opposite sex couples. Men in same-sex relationships were 4% more likely to earn more than men in a heterosexual relationship whereas women in same-sex relationships were 11% more likely to earn more than women in heterosexual relationships.

If you are entering into a relationship whether same-sex or not, the best way to protect your assets is by organising a Financial Agreement.

If you are considering a separation, it is vital you speak to someone with the experience and knowledge about your situation. DA Family Lawyers in Brisbane have years of experience with same-sex disputes. Contact DA family lawyers for a consultation. 


For all the information on the ABS’s findings about same-sex couples, visit their website.