Same-Sex Marriage: Process in Australia

Same-sex pre-nup process, gay couple holding hands and smiling outdoors.

by | Oct 8, 2021 | Blog, Prenup

In December 2017, Australian law changed to allow same-sex couples the same rights that heterosexual couples have been enjoying for decades. On this day, the Marriage Act 1961 was updated to define marriage more inclusively as ‘the union of two people’.

In the three years that followed, over 14,000 same-sex couples were married – and thousands more get married every year since. Since then, we’ve had a lot of questions about the same-sex marriage process and how it works. Luckily the answer is simple – same-sex marriages, divorces and prenups are governed by the same laws as any.

Same-sex marriage process

If you’re having a same-sex marriage, you’ll need to sign three marriage certificates on your wedding day, as will your Commonwealth-registered celebrant and two witnesses. Your celebrant will then give your marriage paperwork to the registry of births, deaths and marriages.

You’ll need the following documents:

  • Proof of divorce if you’ve been married previously.
  • A completed statutory declaration that is provided by your celebrant.
  • Identification including an original passport and original birth certificate.
  • A notice of intended marriage to be completed and given to your celebrant at least a month before you intend to marry.

To be eligible to be married in Australia, you and your partner will also need to meet the below requirements:

  • Be 18 years old.
  • Not be married to other people.
  • Not be marrying a close family member.

Both partners must also consent to the marriage and understand what it means.

Same-sex marriage, gay couple in grey and blue suits kissing at their wedding.

Same-sex divorce process

Just like marriages, the divorce process is the same for same-sex couples as it is for anyone. You may either file your own divorce application or get one of Testart’s same-sex divorce lawyers to help you.

To be eligible, you must meet a number of criteria including:

  • Be an Australian citizen or be lawfully present in Australia and intend to continue living here.
  • Your marriage has broken down and there is no reasonable chance that you will get back together.
  • Be separated for at least 12 months and one day.
  • Have a marriage certificate.

In most cases, couples are able to manage their divorce amicably between each other. In others, however, an expert mediator may be required or a Melbourne divorce lawyer if going to court is necessary.

Same-sex pre-nups

Everyone, including same-sex couples, should consider entering into a prenuptial agreement, otherwise known as binding financial agreement, before marriage. This legally enforceable document sets out how assets, debts, and financial resources are divided in the event that the marriage ends.

These are especially important if one or both partners owns a business, real estate, extensive assets or is expecting an inheritance. To ensure your same-sex pre-nup will function as it’s meant to, it’s important to get advice from a Melbourne family lawyer to ensure its correctly prepared.

Getting advice from a same-sex divorce lawyer

Whether you need a same-sex divorce, or a same-sex pre-nup you’ll need advice from a same-sex friendly family law expert that you can trust.

Testart’s family lawyers have experience in all areas of divorce, pre-nup and family law, and are dedicated to making the process as painless as possible for you.

Get in touch to arrange a free initial consultation where we’ll talk you through your options and create a strategy to get you the best possible outcome.