Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Relationship and Parent Rights Question & Answer - Jenni Millbank

Jenni Millbank is a Barrister and Professor of Law at the University of Technology, Sydney. Jenni has an extensive background in family law and same-sex relationship recognition.

This is an extract of the advice provided on the GLRL website (www.glrl.org.au)

Please note that this column is information of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice.
*NEW* Questions Answered this Month:

* Both I and my same-sex partner want to migrate from our home country to Australia. Can we do this together as a couple under the skilled migration program?
* The federal government lacks the constitutional power to introduce civil unions (as the power it is granted in the constitution is over “marriage”, “divorce” and “matrimonial causes”). What are some options available to get around this problem?
* Are fertility clinics in NSW and Qld prohibited from providing access to lesbians?
* Is it possible to become a parent through surrogacy in Australia? What is the law with regards to payment to the surrogate mother by the donors?
* What is the age of consent in NSW?

Previously Answered Questions:

Adoption, Surrogacy and Parenting

* Are agreements between donors and mothers binding?
* What is the legal position of known and anonymous donors?
* Is second parent adoption possible in Australia, ie can a lesbian co-mother adopt children born to her partner?
* Would marriage give the right to adopt? Or would civil unions or de facto status do so?
* What is the legal standing of surrogacy in Australia for gay men wanting to be fathers?

Civil Unions and Marriage

* What federal rights available to married and de facto couples are not available to couples under a state-based civil union?
* Do married couples have more rights than de facto couples at federal level?
* Some people are against marriage because historically marriage treated women as property. Are women disadvantaged in any way in modern day marriage?
* What is the difference between relationship registration and civil unions?
* If I register my relationship in Tasmania or have a civil union in the ACT, will that be recognised in federal law - eg for immigration purposes will I be treated as married rather than as interdependent?

De Facto Relationships

* What relationship rights do I have at the moment?
* How is de facto recognition different from marriage or civil unions?
* I read that the De Facto Relationships Act applies 11 tests to determine the legal validity of a de facto relationship, and that typically gay men can only satisfy 4 of these 11 criteria. Is this so?
* How do I prove I am in a de facto relationship?
* Would federal recognition of same-sex couples as de facto relationships take away any of our current rights at state level?
* Would de facto recognition at federal level allow a government that did not like same-sex relationships to ban same-sex relationship recognition, like the marriage ban?

Protecting your Relationship Rights

* What rights do straight couples have that I don’t have?
* What can I do to get legal rights and protection for my relationship now?
* What is a “domestic relationship agreement”?
* How can I enter into a domestic relationship agreement and how much will it cost?


* What is the age of consent in NSW?


* How do I prove my relationship for superannuation

To find out the answer to these questions and more, visit the GLRL website at www.glrl.org.au or click here.

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