before the major changes in the family law came into effect, the principle of shared-parenting has become a source of concern among the people in public.
According to studies, people feared that shared parenting may lead kids to further harm and exposure to violence.
However, researches regarding how the new family law works have seemed to have different findings than what the people fear. According to the Family Studies Institute, the new amendments in the family law have actually led to a decrease in the number of cases filed before the family courts. Many people wrongly believed the changes mean that divorced fathers are automatically given a 50-50 care time with their kids.
The government suggests that misunderstandings in the recent change of the family law should not be the basis for the court to walk away from the principle that every child has the right to sustain a valuable relationship with both parents following divorce or separation.
The purpose of the major change in the Australian family law system, which put emphasis on shared parental responsibility for separate parents, only aims to recognize the importance of children in maintaining a good relationship with both parents after separation. The court also recognizes that it is in the best interest of the child to spend equal time with the father and the mother as a crucial element of growth and development.
However, in an instant where family violence is involved, the court will uphold the best interest of the child to be given protection and be secured from further violence. Thus, it is recommended that every case filed before the family court should be automatically assessed for any risks of violence with proper and adequate resources. Parallel to the amendments, the definition of family violence will also be much broader in sense. It does only include physical abuse but may now include any behavior that coerces, controls, and causes fear to the family members, such as withholding financial support or preventing family member from connecting with the extended family in an unreasonable manner.
The recent reforms in the family law can be confusing. It is understandable that separating parents who are also experiencing family violence are a little bit uneasy to the new law. If you have more concerns and other relevant issues that need clarity, do not hesitate to contact an expert family lawyer to assist you with this matter.
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Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.