When it comes to family matters and family disputes, the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) is the principal legislation governing family law in Australia. The Act also sets out the rules that govern how the Sydney courts deal with everyday issues.
Family law is a complicated area which covers a wide range of issues, including marriage and divorce, parenting arrangements for children, spousal maintenance and the division of property following the breakdown of a relationship.
If you are facing family disputes, it’s crucial to get proper support from professional and qualified lawyers in Sydney like Madison Marcus. Our lawyers understand the complexity of family law rules. We can give you expert advice and representation to help you resolve the matter as quickly and efficiently as possible.
What Does the Australian Family Law Act 1975 Cover?
- Section 4AB covers family violence, which it defines as ‘violent, menacing or other conduct by a person that coerces or controls a member of the family or makes a member of the family afraid’.
- Assault, stalking, repeated hurtful comments, intentionally damaging or destroying property and unjustifiably withholding financial assistance are just a few examples of conduct that can qualify as family violence under the legislation.
- If the marriage has irretrievably broken down, divorce and nullity of marriage are available under the Act. In addition, section 65AA addresses parental orders. The court must, according to Section 60CG, attempt to balance the child’s best interests whilst also ensuring that any parental order is consistent with any family violence order and does not put the child’s safety at risk.
- If you are in a de facto relationship, the Act also covers property settlements and spousal maintenance. Part VIIIB sets out the rules for property settlements, whilst section 90SF deals with spousal maintenance.
Section 90SF provides that a court can make an order for spousal maintenance if it is satisfied that:
- The spouse seeking maintenance cannot support themselves adequately, and
- It would be reasonable in all the circumstances for the other spouse to provide financial support.
The amount of spousal maintenance will depend on some factors, including the income and financial resources of each spouse, the age and health of each spouse, the need to care for any children and the ability of each spouse to earn an income.
There are two types of divorces: divorce by mutual consent and divorce by application. If you want to file for a divorce, you can do so through the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court, depending on your circumstances.
If you want to file for divorce or have received divorce papers, you must seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure that you understand the claims made against you and the potential consequences.
Why Was the Family Law Act 1975 Amended?
The law was amended in 2006 to make it easier for couples to divorce if they had been separated for 12 months or more. This will help to reduce the stress and financial cost associated with a lengthy divorce process.
Under the Act, there are several different types of family law cases that can be heard by the court. These include divorce, property settlement, child custody and support, spousal maintenance and child abduction.
The amendment also clarified the definition of family violence and this includes psychological abuse. It also introduced a new process for applying for a divorce, which is designed to be simpler and more efficient.
So what are the key features of the approved amendment? Check out below:
- Makes it easier for couples to divorce if they have been separated for 12 months or more.
- Allows couples to resolve their disputes more efficiently and effectively.
- Helps to reduce the stress and financial cost associated with a lengthy divorce process.
- Makes it easier for the court to hear cases relating to family violence.
- Introduces a new process for applying for a divorce, which is designed to be simpler and more efficient.
The main changes that were made to the Act include:
- Introducing the concept of ‘no-fault divorce’.
- Allowing divorces to be granted based on ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’.
- Introducing a mandatory 4-week waiting period before a divorce could be finalised.
- Giving the court the power to make orders for property settlement and spousal maintenance and child support.
- Introducing the concept of ‘parental responsibility’.
- Allowing the court to make orders for child custody and visitation.
If you are going through a divorce or are involved in a property settlement or child custody case, you must seek legal advice from the best family lawyers in Sydney. A family lawyer will be able to advise you on your rights and obligations under the Act and can help you to reach an agreement with your ex-partner.
How Do I Reference the Family Law Act 1975?
When citing the Family Law Act, remember the following:
- When listed in full, act titles are always italicised. Therefore, we use the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
- Titles of Acts are NOT italicised when their names are abbreviated, such as in the case of the Family Law Act.
- The body of the document does not include titles, such as ‘Family Law Regulations 1984’ or other documents like ‘Initiating Application’.
- The jurisdiction before or after an Act’s title is NOT italicised e.g. Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). The abbreviation used for ‘Commonwealth’ is ‘(Cth)’.
How Madison Marcus Can Help You
In times of family law conflict, you need more than just outstanding legal advice. You need understanding and compassion too.
At Madison Marcus, we understand that this can be a difficult and emotional time for you and we will do everything we can to support you through the process. We also know the importance of reaching a fair and equitable outcome for our clients and their families.
Our top family lawyers in Sydney have the experience, knowledge and skills to assist you with all aspects of your family law matter. We work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for you, whether that is through negotiation or litigation.
For all enquiries or to book a free 15-minute consultation, contact us today.