De facto Relationships, Same-Sex and Surrogate Parents: Exploring the Scope and Effects of the 2008 Federal Relationship Reforms

Lexis Nexis Butterworths
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Family Law, 2009, 23 (3), pp. 160 - 193
Issue Date:
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In October 2008 a suite of major reforms concerning family relationships passed federal parliament. Broadly speaking these reforms include same-sex couples within the category of âde facto relationshipâ in all federal laws (previously limited to unmarried heterosexual couples), extend the definition of âparentâ and âchildâ in much federal law to include lesbian parents who have a child through assisted reproductive means and, in more limited circumstances, to include parents who have children born through surrogacy arrangements. The reforms also bring de facto couples, both heterosexual and same-sex, from the territories and referring states (which to date do not include Western Australia and South Australia) within the federal family law property division regime. This article is divided into two main parts, examining the reforms relating to de facto partners first and then exploring those concerning parental status.
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