One Act to Rule Them All
The Family Law Act 1975, often referred to as the FLA by legal practitioners, 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. One of the main innovations that it had brought was the introduction of no-fault divorce, where couples no longer needed to explain 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 been subject to numerous changes and amendments. Some of those have reflected the current political climate: centre-left Australian governments strengthened the relevancy of non financial contribution of the stay-at-home mother in property matters; on the other hand, centre-right governments have furthered the wishes of fathers’ groups 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, dispose of parental responsibility, the living arrangements of children, matrimonial property, as well as financial maintenance for former spouses or children.
The Act also covers same-sex marriage, de facto relationships and polygamous marriages.