Family Violence: New Amendments to the Family Law Act
Written on the 25th of June 2012 by Alan Wright
Important amendments to the Family Law Act relating to family violence came into effect on 7 June 2012...
Family violence and abuse have always been very important issues in parenting cases in the Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court.
Important amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 ("the Act"), specifically relating to Family Violence, came into effect on 7 June 2012. This article is designed to offer readers an overview of the amendments related to Family Violence Law.
The Act states that in making a parenting order a court "must regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration". For some time the Family Law Act Australia has stated that there are two primary considerations in determining what is in the child's best interests (there are further considerations called "additional considerations"). The two primary considerations are:
Following the amendments the Act now specifies that the court must give greater weight to the second of these considerations.
Some of the additional considerations have also been amended. For example, the subsection has been deleted that said that the court was to consider "the willingness and ability of each of the child's parents to facilitate, and encourage, a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent". It would not be appropriate for a decision to be made against a parent who was not being "friendly" if their actions were based on the need to protect the child from harm, abuse, neglect or family violence.
The definitions of "abuse" and "family violence" have been expanded.
The following matters have been added to the definition of abuse:
Other changes to the Act include:
The changes to Family Violence Law apply to cases filed on or after 7 June 2012. The existing law applies to cases filed before then.
If you have any questions about the Family Law Act or an issue related to Family Violence, please do not hesitate to call our Family Law and De Facto Law Team on 1800 994 279 or email us. A member of our team will endeavour to respond to your enquiry within 24 hours.
Author: Alan Wright
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