Family Law Act in New South Wales
The Family Law Act 1975, often referred to as the FLA by practitioners of law, is an Act of the Australian Parliament. This is the main Australian legislation dealing with divorce, parenting arrangements between separated parents (whether married or not), property separation, and financial maintenance involving children or divorced or separated de facto partners.
The Family Law Act was enacted in 1975 by the Australian government – this makes the Family Law Act the main such legislation in New South Wales as well. The FLA brought some innovations, one of the main ones being the introduction of no-fault divorce. This meant that couples no longer needed to explain their reasons for divorce, but instead just state that their relationship had suffered an irreconcilable breakdown.
Over time, The Family Law Act has been one of the most controversial pieces of Australian legislation, and as such, it has gone through numerous changes and amendments. Some changes were reflections of the current political climate: for example, centre-left Australian governments strengthened the relevance of non financial contribution of the stay-at-home mother when it comes to property matters; centre-right governments have furthered the wishes of fathers’ groups, and they have done so by extending the rights and responsibilities in negotiating parenting arrangements.
The Family Law Act gives the Court powers to make orders to restrain domestic violence, the living arrangements of children, dispose of parental responsibility, matrimonial property, financial maintenance for former spouses or children.
Same-sex marriage, polygamous marriages and de facto relationships are also covered by the Family Law Act.