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Understanding the Basics of Family Law

Family law can be pretty complex and overwhelming, especially if this is your first time dealing with it. The basics of family law  in Australia will give you insights to navigate through the legal process. 

However, keep in mind that every situation is unique, so if you have specific questions or concerns, it is important to speak with top family lawyers in Sydney who can help guide you through the process of understanding family law.

What Is the Point of Family Law?

The concept of family law is to provide legal protection for families, individuals, and children. This includes ensuring that families have the legal right to make decisions about their lives, property and relationships including their children. Family law also involves resolving property, financial and parenting disputes between family members.

In Australia we rely on the Family Law Act 1975 as the central legislative provision relating to family law.  However, no one court in Australia has what might be described as jurisdiction in family law generally meaning that a substantial number of courts, both state and federal, have jurisdictions in respect of one of more aspects of family law. There is some consistency between the different jurisdictions, as they all recognise and give effect to certain principles of family law.

The most important principle of family law is that the best interests of the child are paramount. This means that when decisions are made about children, their welfare must be the first and most important consideration.

Another important principle is that parents have a responsibility to support their children, both emotionally and financially. This includes providing for their basic needs, such as food, shelter and clothing, as well as their education and health care.

Some common issues that family law covers include divorce, parental responsibility child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, de facto relationships, child prtoection, family violence and abuse.

Shared Parental responsibility in Australia

If you are considering a separation or divorce or are already in the process, you may be wondering what will happen with your children. In Australia, parental responsibility is determined by what is in the best interests of the child according to the Family Law Act 1975. The law’s emphasis is on the rights of the children and makes sure parents fulfill their responsibilities. 

Parental responsibility of a child can be awarded to one or both parents by the court. The court will take into account several factors when making this decision. These factors include the child’s age, the child’s relationship with each parent, the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s needs and any other factors that may be relevant.

The court will also take into account the wishes of the child, if the child is old enough to express a preference. However, the court will not necessarily follow the child’s wishes and will instead make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child.

So, at what age does a child have a say in custody? 

There is no minimum age where a child can have a say about their custody. Children aged 17 and below are considered minors thus their preference for custody may not be granted.

However, the court may consider the request of an older child. The level of maturity is also a consideration but it requires the assessment of a psychologist, family therapist or qualified social worker. 

It is important to know that the child’s age does not make or break a parental responsibility issue. There were instances where the court denied a 16-year-old child but granted a 12-year-old request simply because the child was mature and logical in the way they expressed it. 

How Can a Lawyer Help Me With My Family Law Issue?

Family lawyers in Sydney can help you by providing information about the law, representing you in court and negotiating on your behalf. Lawyers can also provide other services, such as mediation and counseling.

In many parenting disputes, the first step the family lawyers in Sydney will initiate is mediation before taking the issue to the court. This is to see if the issue can be settled in an informal manner. But in cases such as domestic abuse or family violence, mediation will not be required and application to the court is permitted. 

How Madison Marcus Can Help You

Divorce or any family issue is never easy. However, understanding your rights and options can help make the process a little bit easier. 

If you have any questions about parental responsibility in Australia or if you need legal advice about domestic violence, pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements and spousal maintenance, we, at Madison Marcus, are here to help.

Our top family lawyers in Sydney can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. We will guide you through the process.

For all enquiries or to book a free 15-minute consultation, contact us today.


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