The family is a complex piece of legislation.
It first came into force in 1975 and had been amended on numerous occasions to suit the present times and current demands of public interest. The family law, along with the child custody law and other legislation concerning family violence lays down the rules and procedures for dealing family issues.
Throughout the years and with the recent amendments, it is no longer surprising that the terminologies of the family law have changed. Listed below are some of the words and their definitions in the family law that people commonly encounters.
Divorce: The legal way to dissolve the bond of marriage, allowing either of the party to remarry. The decision to grant the divorce lies on the family court. Couples who are given the final and absolute grant of divorce decree are granted with a Decree Nisi usually within one month and one day after the application.
Separation: Parties who are separated are still married, but they are no longer in contact with one another or are living in separate houses. If the parties are separated for at least 12 months, they can already apply for divorce, which means that it is no longer possible to retain the married life.
Custody: Although this term is very common and is continuously used in family cases, it has already been replaced with residence. Since 2006, residence deals about who the child should live with after the separation of parents.
Access or Contact: These words have similar meaning with “who the child spends time with” under the new amendments of the Family Law. Although these words have already been expressly replaced, they are still used in the common language to refer to the same meaning.
Property Settlement: This is a process wherein couples can agree on how their assets and liabilities are to be divided after divorce or separation. Normally, this has to be started within 12 months after a grant of divorce decree and may be finalized by court order or binding financial agreement.
Consent Orders: These are orders of the court that are agreed to by both parties and can be obtained during court proceedings or more regularly by a written application to the court. Orders do not need appearances of parties engaged but will have the same effect as if made by a court after a full hearing.
Superannuation Split: This can be obtained either by court order or a certain type of agreement. Splitting of superannuation will transfer the designated proportion of one’s party to the other. Funds considered as superannuation can only be accessed under the normal superannuation rules.
Domestic Violence: This is a mixture of family law and criminal law case which covers abuse, harassment and threats between the family members. Parenting arrangements can have relevant effects to the apprehended domestic violence orders.
De facto relationship: This is the legal term for couples who live together without the benefit of marriage. This also covers homosexual couples. When a de facto relationship reaches two years or when couples under a de facto relationship give birth to a child, the de facto relationship can be registered for purposes of property claims.
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.