February may be the month for romance, but when it comes to relationship law, love cannot afford to be blind.
In this blog, we debunk the top three legal myths our family lawyers hear, and explain why believing them can cost you more than you’d think!
Myth #1: Consent is the only law I need to worry about when it comes to sex.
When it comes to who you can and can’t have sex with, and how you go about doing so, there are a number of laws you need to know about:
Age: In Queensland, it is illegal to conduct sexual activity with anyone under 16 years of age. These ages vary state to state, however, which is important to know if you plan on going on a weekend getaway with your love this Valentines Day.
Sexting: While the age of consent is 16, it’s still illegal to possess sexual images of anyone under 18 – something that all teenagers need to be aware of in the smartphone era!
STI Disclosure: If you knowingly expose a sexual partner to an STI you may be held accountable under the Public Health Act. Furthermore, if the person contracts a serious condition like HIV from you, you could be charged with grievous bodily harm or face civil action if you knew you had the condition.
Myth #2: When you’ve been living together as a couple for two years, there is a relationship law that says you get half of the other person’s stuff if you break up.
The laws surrounding a de facto “divorce” are a lot more complicated than this common urban legend implies.
What you may be entitled to when your relationship ends will depend on many factors including:
• What assets/property/money you brought into the relationship to begin with Whether you made any “significant contributions” to an asset (e.g. your labour spent renovating a house)
• How long you were together
• If you have children together
De facto separations rarely end in an even 50/50 split, which is why it’s a good idea to get legal advice.
Myth #3: Your will remains a valid legal document even after you’ve married.
Most couples don’t realise that once they officially tie the knot, any wills that either party had in place beforehand become invalid.
If you don’t want the majority of your estate going to your spouse, you need to update your will.
This law is particularly relevant for anyone who has children from a previous relationship.
For more information about how to protect yourself in a relationship, or to find out how family law affects you or your children, get in touch with our friendly team today by dialling 3180 0908 emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or filling out our simple online contact form.