“By biology, or by law, or a combination of both, certain people, take on the right and responsibilities of raising children, and are, or become parents”: Masson v Parsons  FamCA 789, 46.
Recently, the Australian Institute of Family Studies (‘AIFS’) released an Evidence Summary of a study it had conducted in relation to post-separation parenting outcomes. The Evidence Summary provides very interesting statistics regarding family law parenting outcomes that cast some light on the process. While statistics do not always tell the whole truth, they can indicate trends in the family law parenting process that may be helpful when determining the best course of action in your case.
On 1 March 2009, Part VIIIAB was inserted into the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (‘the Act’) which provided for Australian de facto couples to have their financial matters dealt with upon the breakdown of their relationship under the Australian family law system. The main effect of the amendments was to the mirror Part VIII of the Act, which covers financial matters between married couples.
The family law system in Australia is constantly evolving and works to recognise and assist adults and children who have suffered family violence. This year, as many as 70% of all family law matters in the Commonwealth court system involve an allegation of family violence. A particular concern of the Courts is to ensure that children who are exposed to or suffer family violence or abuse are protected as much as possible.
Children are constantly evolving, developing and growing at varying stages of childhood and adolescence. They transition from preschool, to primary school, to high school; their friendship circles, interests and extracurricular activities may change; sometimes they may move to a different suburb, city or state. Change is a reality in a child’s life and studies show that people grow and develop more rapidly in their childhood than at any other point of life.
In a recent blog post, we explored the mandatory requirement for parties to attempt to resolve their parenting dispute with the assistance of family dispute resolution (‘FDR’) prior to applying to the court for parenting orders: Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) s 60I(1). However, s 60I(7) provides various exceptions to this mandatory requirement such as the following:
Prior to commencing parenting proceedings, parties must make a “genuine effort” to resolve their parenting dispute with the assistance of family dispute resolution (‘FDR’): Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) s 60I(1). The usual form of FDR that parties engage in is mediation with an accredited FDR practitioner. Often this take places through services such as Relationships Australia, however parties can engage an accredited private mediator (who is often an admitted lawyer) to mediate their dispute as well.
In 2005 and 2009, crucial amendments were made to the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) and the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) that bestowed jurisdiction upon the Family Court of Australia in bankruptcy for married and de facto couples.
Upon separation, a party will often feel disgruntlement or dissatisfaction with the other party and wish to retain all they brought into the relationship. This is even more so the case with inheritances received after separation.
The Family Law courts, under s79 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“the Act”), have the power to alter the interests of parties to a marriage or de facto relationship when it is just and equitable to do so. As far as practicable, the Court aims to make orders for property settlement that will determine the financial relationship between the parties on a final basis.