Same Sex Relationships

Same-sex couples have traditionally faced discrimination, in the lack of full legal recognition of their relationships. The family law process in Western Australia now enables most couples in same sex relationships to access an equivalent range of solutions in the Family Court with regard to financial matters to those presently available to married and de facto couples.

Kavanagh Lawyers is fortunate to have many same sex clients and their lawyers are highly experienced in dealing with the particular challenges that same-sex couples face with regard to family law, and legal recognition of their relationships. They will assist people who are experiencing the breakdown of their relationship by providing calm, objective, expert legal advice to resolve the matter quickly and cost effectively.

Recent legislative changes have effectively meant that in most areas of law same sex couples have the same rights and obligations as straight de facto couples.

“De facto” relationships are generally defined as “marriage like” relationships.

The lawyers at Kavanagh Lawyers have found that de facto law is generally more misunderstood by clients and is more likely the subject of ‘urban myths’ than most areas of the Family Law system. Therefore, it is important that that you obtain the advice of a lawyer practising exclusively in the area of Family Law.

Separation and Division of Assets In Same Sex Relationships

In order to start proceedings for property settlement, you must be able to show that:

  • you have been in a de facto relationship for at least two years; or
  • there is a child of the relationship under 18 years, and failure to make a property settlement order would cause a serious injustice to the person caring for the child


  • the person applying for the order made substantial financial and/ or non-financial contributions to the relationship and failure to make a property settlement order would cause serious injustice to that person


  • one or both of the parties to the application must be resident in Western Australia the day the application is made; or
  • both parties have to have resided in Western Australia for one third of their relationship, or made substantial contributions to property in this State.

Any application for property settlement has to be made no later than 2 years after the date of your separation.

De facto law is an area of law that is subject to regular changes by Federal and State laws. Before you begin proceedings, you should seek advice of a lawyer practising exclusively in the area of Family Law.

Next Steps

  • Call Kavanagh Lawyers on (08) 6557 5888.