By Gianna Huesch
With Australia’s same-sex marriage postal vote well underway, there has been much debate lately over what legal rights the institution of marriage grants to married people. There appears to be quite a lot of confusion, even amongst politicians. So it’s great to read a concise, useful explainer over at the The Conversation on the legal benefits that married couples enjoy which de facto couples do not.
In summary, the article points out the legal differences between couples in a settled domestic relationship (de facto) and married couples.
For starters, to access many rights, de facto couples need to prove their “relationship meets particular interdependency criteria”, a process which can be complicated, time-consuming, costly, invasive and emotionally fraught, compared to married couples who can simply provide a certificate or tick a box on a form. In truth, it takes a lot more effort to prove you are a de facto couple than that you are a married couple. And even then, your claim to be de facto may still be rejected by officials.
Further, marriage is both nationally and internationally recognised, whereas de facto laws vary depending on your state, and depending on the particular right in question. For instance:
“For Centrelink purposes, you are a de facto couple from the moment you start living together; for migration law it is after 12 months of cohabiting (unless you have a child together or de facto relationships are illegal in your country of origin).
“Under family law it is different again: a minimum of two years (unless you have a child together, have registered your relationship, or have made significant contributions to the relationship).”
There are legal differences in relation to reproductive procedures and parentage status, property and maintenance proceedings in the family courts, differences in wills law, death and superannuation issues, overseas residency and working rights, generally the incontrovertible and unchallengeable legal security that a marriage certificate provides.
For a complete breakdown of all the differences, head over and read the entire article—it’s well worth a read: https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-legal-benefits-do-married-couples-have-that-de-facto-couples-do-not-83896
Do you need assistance with a family law matter? Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02 6223 2400.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance.