Civil Partnership Act – Here today… Gone tomorrow?
Posted: 13th May 2012
Posted in: News
Posted by: Dean Evans, Partner
The Bligh Government’s departing gift to Queensland was The Civil Partnerships Act 2011 which took effect on 23 February, 2012. The first civil union ceremonies were able to be held as and from 5th March, 2012.
As was well publicised in “Can Do” Newman’s recent election campaign, one of the election promises was to repeal the Act.
The new Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie, has indicated that a request has been made for a full legal brief from his Department about the legislation that allows same-sex partnerships with a view to implementing Newman’s plan to repeal the Act and if possible, make the repealing legislation retrospective.
Below is a summary of the key elements of The Civil Partnerships Act 2011.
To qualify to enter a civil partnership:-
- You must not be married;
- You must not be in a recognised civil partnership;
- You must not be related to the proposed civil partner (the Act particularises such relations);
- Both must reside in Queensland;
- Both must be 18 years of over.
You may apply for registration of your relationship with Births, Deaths and Marriages, where there is a 10 day cooling off period between receipt of Application and the Registration of the partnership. Alternately you may make a Declaration before a Civil Partnership Notary – which first requires a Notice of Intention to be filed with the Registrar 10 days prior to making such Declaration.
A Civil Partnership is terminated in the following ways:-
- By the death of either party;
- By marriage of either party; or
- By Order of the District Court where the parties have lived separately and apart for 12 months (this could include whilst living under the same roof) and one or both parties consider that there is no likelihood of reconciling the relationship.
The Act will impact on a wide variety of other legislation, including the Succession Act. Entering or terminating a Civil Partnership may revoke certain provisions contained in a party’s Will. Equally entering a Civil Partnership entitles either party to the same relief as de facto spouse may avail themselves to under the Family Law Act.
Given the current State Government’s intentions with respect to the Civil Partnership Act, entering a civil partnership may be a futile exercise. Importantly, however, as highlighted in our earlier Article “Same Sex… Same Rights” a same sex de facto couple has the same rights under the Family Law Act in respect of property settlement and spousal maintenance as a married couple… and those rights are here to stay.