Societies changing social values towards the notion of family has resulted in the legal system attempting to reform the law to reflect these changes. Due to the range of family types that exist today, relationship breakdowns have become more complex. The legal system aims to effectively provide a fair and equitable outcomes for all parties, spouses and children involved although this can often be a challenge due to conflicting interests of the the different parties.Relationship breakdowns in Australia include the separation of married or defacto couples.
Parties that take part in relationship breakdowns incorporate the two parties separating and any children that have resulted from the relationship. The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (FLA) is the primary body of legislation that overlooks matters relating to any disputes arising from relationship breakdowns particularly property which relate to wills and methods of resolving disputes that arise over separation. The Australian legal system has the intent to also govern over all disputes that result in separation with in a defacto relationship.
Even though a defacto relationship is not legally binding like marriage. The effectiveness of the law in justice including legal consequences of separation in relation to child and property. Property division often reflects on the will that has each party has created for the relationship. Property includes bank accounts, homes, house hold goods and shares. A will is mainly known as a document that determines who gains the rights to different property and assets after death. In many occasions with in a marriage the spouses will write a will that leaves property to their significant other.
Controversy often arise from the distribution of property during a relationship breakdown. To contest this there are guidelines to dispose how the property is divided under the FLA (s 75 and s 79 for married couples, s 90SF and s 90SM for de facto spouses). There are alot of factors that are considered and heard at the family court when conflict arises in relation to property distribution. The financial and non financial contributions to the property by each party are taken into consideration as well as income, age and resources.
Disputes revolving around children in relationship break down is often handled by the family court but can also be organized by the family themselves. The legal procedure attempts to consist of the primary principles of the CROC. Under the FLA 1975 s55A, states that a divorce order in relation to a marriage will not take effect without the court being satisfied that; there are no children of the marriage who have not reached 18 years of age, or if there are that they are defined in the order and that there are the correct arrangements in all situations made for the care, welfare and development of all those children. In Addition, this understanding illustrates the shift in the parents responsibility, whereby The Family Law Reform Act 1995 (Cth) involved a conceptual shift in terminology when determining parenting orders.
That is, the movement from ‘Custody’ to ‘Access’ and, further on under The Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 (Cth) being ‘Live With’ ‘Spend time with’ and ‘Communicates with.’ Nonetheless the justice system paved a effective positive shift toward the adequate care and protection toward children, when handling a relationship break down. In result, the 2006 amendments relating to children in family law mean that when the courts give an order about children it is presumed that it will be in the best interests of the child. It also conveys that parents can work out their parenting arrangements without having to involve the court system, this is highly effective in removing the nature of an adversarial system in situations that are complex and involve conciliation, and ultimately, there is the understanding that significant others should be allowed to make their own decisions about their family when experiencing a relationship breakdown. These agreements can be informal, in the form of a parenting plan or consent orders, therefore effective in reducing the pressure on the courts and the long amounts of time for individuals involved in the traditional court processes.
Parents must attempt dispute resolution before they can apply to the Federal Circuit court to make a parenting order, further reinforcing the resource efficiency of this act.