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Understanding Law: What Does Family Law Cover?

Family legal disputes are some of the hardest to resolve as all people involved are extremely stressed and emotional. Therefore, the assistance of a qualified lawyer in these matters is extremely important. When you face any problem relating to this branch of law, you should seek professional representation right away as the majority of these issues can be resolved through mediation. However, to understand when exactly an attorney can help, you need to know what family law covers exactly.

In simple terms, family law consists of several pieces of legislation that regulate family relationships. This includes but isn’t limited to:

  • De facto relationships
  • Marriage contracts
  • Child custody
  • Consent orders
  • Domestic violence
  • Property financial statements
  • Children relocation
  • Spouse maintenance
  • Divorce

Please note that de facto relationships aren’t recognized outside of Australia. Therefore, if a de facto couple moves out of the country, they automatically fall under the laws of the state they are in.

As gay marriages aren’t currently recognized in Australia, all gay couples are treated as de facto relationships according to Family Law.

Family Law Concerning Children

The main stipulation of the laws related to children in Australia is the focus on the child’s best interests. Child protection is mostly dealt with by the state legislation, but it’s also mentioned in the Family Law Act of 1975. This act regulates the parenting arrangements in case of separation or divorce.

The Australian Child Support Scheme allows parents to reach a private agreement regarding this issue. The assistance of a lawyer is essential when dealing with these matters not only because this professional will protect yours and your child’s best interests. Most importantly, they will be able to mediate and reduce the stress of the whole process so that your kids don’t have to be dragged through a lengthy and stressful court case.

In 2006 (May 22nd) the Family Law Act of 1975 was amended to ensure that the welfare of the child is a paramount consideration in any case that involves children and that both parents are given a chance to play a meaningful role in their lives.

Australia is a part of the Hague Convention. Therefore, any child abduction cases are dealt under the guidelines of this agreement.

Property Outcomes in Divorce Cases

Under the current Australian laws, property and finances aren’t shared 50/50 between ex-spouses. The court has a vast amount of power in determining the ‘just and equitable’ division of assets. This process gets a lot of criticism, and a family lawyer’s skill and experience matter greatly in the outcome of the case.