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Australian Family Law ExplainedAustralian Family Law Explained

Family law is a broad branch of law that deals with issues related to marriage, child support and parental responsibility, co-parenting and child issues, division of property, domestic violence and more.

Read on to find out what family law is and how vital the role of lawyers is in solving disputes under Australian regulations.

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What Is the Family Law System?

As stated by Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department, the primary objective of the Australian family law system is to gain a resolution to the legal aspects of family issues. It aims to identify the rights of all the individuals involved and how they will be defended. It encourages mutual agreement between parties to avoid going to court.

Family law also has the intent to provide safe and workable parenting agreements for the benefit of the children.

How Does Family Law Work in Australia?

The Australian Family Law is primarily governed by the Family Law Act 1975. Here are some of the major areas under it.

1. For Spouses

When a relationship fails, they often proceed to get an annulment or divorce.

For annulment, the Australian Family Law system allows the declaration of a marriage to be void if it involves bigamy, prohibited relationships, underage union, forced marriage and those that fail to comply with the law.

For divorce, Australia uses a ‘no fault’ type of divorce and does not require proving a ‘fault’ on their partners to terminate their marriage. However, an evidenced 12-month separation is necessary.

2. For Children

Custody is determined in Australia depending on the best interests of the children. It includes parental responsibility, parenting time, financial responsibility and more.

Here are some of the important regulations:

  • Section 61B of the Family Law Act 1975 states parental responsibility, in relation to a child, means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children.
  • If parents do not have an agreement regarding decisions about their children, family mediation services or the court can assist.
  • There is no 50:50 rule when it comes to time spent between parents and their children, however in s 61D of the Family Law Act 1975 the rebuttable presumption that it is in the best interests of children to have ‘equal shared parental responsibility’ for them.

3. For Victims of Abuse

Domestic violence is unacceptable. The Australian Government is committed to taking action in the prevention of abuse and defending the rights of the victims. The assurance of the Family Violence Act 2016 enforces this. 

The Family Law Legislation Amendment Act 2011 amends the Family Law Act 1975 with the aim to provide better protection against violence and abuse between family members.

The key changes are the following:

  • Giving greater weight to the protection from harm when determining what is in a child’s best interests
  • Broadened definition of ‘family violence’ and ‘abuse’. It includes sexual violation, exploitation, physical and emotional harm, as well as child negligence.
  • Improving reporting requirements and ensuring courts have better access to evidence
  • Easier participation of state and territory child protection authorities in participating with family law proceedings.

4. Superannuation Splitting

This law allows couples to split payments related to superannuation when there is a marriage breakdown. This can also be determined before or during a marriage or de facto relationship.

The Role of Family Lawyers

The Australian family law aims to reach an agreement for all individuals involved in family relationship issues. However, the concept of family law is complex. This is why a family lawyer is important, especially in handling all the documents, negotiations, dispute resolution and court representation if the need arises. This will relieve all the burdens and stress that cause your emotional turmoil.

Below are some of the roles of a family lawyer.

1. Facilitation of Documents

Legal processes require tons of paperwork that must be submitted correctly and on time. Because family lawyers are knowledgeable and skilled in the law, they will be able to prepare or review the necessary documents for your case in a proper and valid manner.

2 .Legalisation of Adoption and Guardianship

A family lawyer can walk you through the procedures related to adoption, name changes, child custody and guardianship. They will smoothen the process by submitting the right documents in a timely manner and presenting your capability to raise a child.

3. Negotiations and Settlements

Family lawyers will strive to produce an outcome that is aligned with your visions and interests. They are capable of assisting you through property settlement and creating agreements that will work for all the individuals involved in the issue.

4. Handling Initiating Proceedings and Court

Family lawyers will do the necessary steps to resolve disputes through negotiation. However, when an Initiating Proceeding is filed or when the issue needs to be taken to court, they can efficiently handle it for you.

5. Preparing Wills

Family lawyers can help protect your assets and interests by legally splitting them with your relatives and children through the creation of a will, testamentary trust, power of attorney and enduring guardianship.

How Madison Marcus Can Help You

If you are looking for a family lawyer in Sydney or Melbourne, Madison Marcus can assist you. We are an award-winning law firm with experienced lawyers who can offer you legal advice related to issues comprising family issues, from marriage to parental responsibility. 

Madison Marcus is fully accredited in Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice (ICP). If the parties act in good faith, ICP allows a cost-effective resolution within an average of three to six months.

If you are a victim of any domestic violence or family violence, we can defend your rights and help you achieve your desired outcome. Contact us today for all enquiries or to book a free 15-minute consultation.


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