Legal Studies

1 January 2017

With the very nature and fluidity of Family Law, many attempts at definitive meanings are met with a high degree of confusion even by the most learned minds. Family law is an area of the law that deals with family-related issues and domestic relations. This can includes the establishment of family and domestic relationships, the rules for creating a union, right up to their termination or dissolution, and the subsequent issues related to this, such as alimony, child support, property division, custody etc.

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When the bliss of a marriage turns cold, there are many couples out there, or even individuals who believe that their marriage is beyond help therefore result in divorce.

In a case of divorce there are many stakeholders who can be affected by the breakdown of a marriage. Your spouse is a “stakeholder” in your marriage, because it is his or her marriage also. But there are other stakeholders in your marriage as well; people who have serious investments of their own in your marriage. Children under the age of 18 depend on their parents in every significant way, but besides the minor children, there are other stakeholders: adult children, parents and siblings, in-laws, and shared friends are the most typical.

Divorce, as a legal issue includes an array of stakeholders, including the general public, judges, and politicians. One major stakeholder in this case is Tony Abbott. On July 10, 2009, Tony Abbott, the Opposition families and Aboriginal affairs spokesperson called for a return to the fault-based system of divorce that was discarded in 1975, to be replaced by a ‘no-fault’ system. Mr Abbott’s plan would see additional grounds for divorce reintroduced, including adultery, cruelty, habitual drunkenness and imprisonment.

This proposal has been confronted with mixed responses. (Author Unknown, Should Australia retain ‘no fault’-based divorce? , 2009) Some have welcomed what they see as an attempt to address some of the shortcomings of the Family Law Act. Others have been highly critical of what they see as a return to an adversarial and unsatisfactory system. Although Abbott had introduced this plan in high faith that it would reduce divorce numbers, many have disagreed with this reintroduction, claiming that the current law has met society’s expectations.

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