Same-sex marriage just became legal in Australia, with the bill coming into effect on Saturday. One gay woman from Perth married her partner in 2015 in a European consulate, belonging to a country that permits same-sex unions. However, it didn’t work out and up until now, she couldn’t do anything about it. Now with the new law passed, she can finally make an official split, as same-sex divorce also comes into play.

New legislation paves the way for same-sex divorce

After the same-sex marriage bill came into effect on Saturday, the unnamed Perth woman didn’t waste any time.

The fact that same-sex unions are now legal also means the legalization of divorce. The woman was unable to file for divorce before, as she was not a resident of the European country involved in her marriage, and couldn’t legally split in Australia until now due to restrictions. However, she finally headed to her lawyers’ office on Sunday to sign divorce papers.

Same-sex couple in ‘legal limbo’

According to their lawyer, Teresa Farmer, after they separated, the pair were in a “legal limbo” – unable to get divorced in either Australia or the European country whose consulate oversaw their union.

Farmer told the BBC they were completely stuck and that her client was inextricably linked to her partner, but was unable to do anything about it.

Up until the new law was passed, the couple had to wait for something to change in Australia’s legislation, or the jurisdiction of the European country in whose consulate they were wed.

According to Farmer, her client has been waiting for a year for the chance to divorce. The divorce application was received by a Perth court on Monday and will probably be the first of its kind in Australia.

According to Farmer, her client had been resigned to the fact that she had to wait for the same-sex marriage law to finally come to pass.

After the Australian people voted, and Members of Parliament also voted overwhelmingly for the right to same-sex marriage, she finally gets her chance. Farmer said her client is relieved as she has since found a new partner and wishes to get on with her life.

More same-sex divorces to come

While this will likely be the first same-sex divorce in Australia, there will be more to come. According to a report by, the United Nations had found the fact that same-sex couples who had married overseas, but were unable to get divorced in Australia, actually violated their international human rights.

The UN made this decision after an Australian woman, who was married to her same-sex partner in Canada in 2004, could not get divorced in Canada, as she had been away from that country for a year. She also couldn’t get divorced in Australia as their union was not yet recognized as legal. Now that woman will also be able to legally split from her partner.