Family law is an area of law that primarily deals with family and domestic matters. Here’s a brief list of the topics it covers:
- Child custody
- Property division
- Spousal maintenance
However, this isn’t an exhaustive list, as family lawyers in Melbourne can assist with a variety of legal aspects. When you consider topics under the umbrella of family and relationships, there are many that come to mind. For example, inheritance is one area covered by family law, as the distribution of property between family members is certainly a family matter. Read on to learn more about family law and the areas it deals with.
Legislation Covering Family Law
In Australia, most of the family law topics mentioned above are covered by the Family Law Act, enacted in 1975. It’s a federal law, which means that it applies to the whole of the federation of Australia. It’s a broad piece of legislation that covers a huge geographical area and a lot of legal matters that concern the family. The legislation brought consistency to family laws throughout Australia. The Family Court of Australia is the authority covering most of Australia’s family law matters.
The Federal Family Law Act (1975)
This Act not only presented cohesive legislation for the entire country, but it also abolished some of the cumbersome processes which accompanied situations like divorce. Ultimately, it streamlined and modernised the process for families and family lawyers in Melbourne and across Australia. Here’s how it deals with the following matters:
- Marriage – The law recognises marriages contracted inside and outside Australia, provided they were conducted in accordance with jurisdictional laws. Generally, conditions for annulment of marriage have to do with the legality of the marriage in relation to the laws under which it was conducted. If one partner could be proven to have been under the legal age at the time, the marriage could be considered invalid.
- Divorce – Divorce is recognised locally or from abroad once it conforms with the laws of the granting jurisdiction. This law introduced ‘No-Fault Divorce’, which can be granted after a one-year separation. This requires no fault to be found for the divorce to be valid, as was the case with the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1961.
- Child Custody – Divorce isn’t granted unless suitable arrangements are made for children under the age of 18. The children’s best interests are always the main priority. Some matters regarding custody may refer to local laws rather than federal laws. The Child Support Assessment Act of 1989 is significant here.
- Property Division – The court endeavours to decide in favour of the best interests of all parties rather than a 50% split arrangement.
- Spousal Maintenance – Divorced individuals without financial means may apply for financial support from former spouses. In Western Australia, this comes under the Family Court of Western Australia.
Should you require legal assistance in Victoria relating to family law, make sure you look for reputable family lawyers in Melbourne. They can provide you with legal advice and give you the correct guidance needed for your circumstances.