Ending a relationship, separating from your partner or partners, or getting a divorce can be very difficult and upsetting for everyone involved.
The end of a relationship can occur in a mutual and respectful way. In many cases people choose to attend mediation, access counselling or use financial advice services to help them work out the best options for the future care of children or pets, and for help with dividing assets like housing, finances or other matters.
Sometimes ending a relationship, or wanting to end one, can produce conflict with partner/s. Conflict can be unpredictable and can escalate into intimate partner or family violence.
If this happens, and you become worried that the relationship is abusive or violent (or if someone else close to you is worried), then you may benefit from specialist support. It can be difficult, and may also put you at risk, to try to handle these situations on your own.
If you’re in this situation, you can contact WithRespect￼￼ to speak to a counsellor. With Respect partner organisations can provide you with a range of services. You can access telephone support through Switchboard, so you can talk to someone quickly about how you feel and what’s happening. Through queerspace you can access wrap-around individual support, relationship counselling and help for families and children during a separation. Through Thorne Harbour Health, you can access support and counselling services as well as behaviour change programs. If you need to leave the relationship quickly for your safety, both queerspace and Thorne Harbour Health can help you to access financial support to help you leave.
If you are ending a relationship you may have questions about your legal status in the relationship, as a parent or within the family, that you can’t answer yourself or by getting information from the internet. You may need to contact someone to get independent legal advice. (Please note: This information is not a substitute for actual legal advice and is intended as a quick guide only).
Seek information and support here:
Laws regarding property division after separation apply equally to all partners regardless of the gender of those involved.
- Married couples can apply for legal separation and divorce - see the federal Family Court for details.
- If you were married overseas and separate in Australia – see the Attorney General’s department for basic information
- Married and de facto couples can make an application for a property settlement under the Family Law Act.
- Further advice on separation and divorce should be sought from a Victoria Legal Aid community legal centre or private solicitors.
- Fitzroy Community Legal Service and St Kilda Community Legal Services have LGBTIQ-friendly family law clinics. They can refer people to a private solicitor with experience working in LGBTIQ family violence and family law matters.
Links to legal information:
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby
Victoria Legal Aid
St Kilda Legal Service and Fitzroy Legal Service
Links to support services:
LGBTIQ Outreach at St Kilda Community Legal Service
LGBTIQ Family Law Clinic at Fitzroy Legal Service