Hot Topics 82: Families

Hot Topics 82: Families

The family role is to care and support for one another and to share resources, with parents protecting and guiding the development of their children. However, not all families are able to fulfil these roles. Some families are vulnerable and require extra support, while some have to adjust to changes brought by separation, divorce, and re-partnering. This issue looks at the different concepts relating to family issues, as well as property and money after separation, child support payments, adoption and courts that deal with family issues.

About the author

Maree Livermore is a lawyer, writer, consultant and researcher with a background of involvement in family law and social justice issues. She is the author of The Family Law Handbook – A Practical Guide to Australian Family Law, now in its third edition. She is also a qualified family dispute resolution practitioner. Apart from family law, her professional interests include mental health law, disability and guardianship law, domestic violence law, and regulation in social policy areas. She is currently undertaking a PhD in mental health law at the Australian National University.

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Chapter one

Government and family

Developing policies of support for family.

Chapter two

Fundamental concepts

What is a family - legal status of married people - legal status of a de facto relationship - recognition of same-sex de facto relationships - parenthood - rights of parents - rights of children - children who are parents - laws applying to young people.

Chapter three

Courts dealing with family issues

Family Court of Australia - Federal Circuit Court - Family Court of Western Australia - local courts - children's courts - district (county) courts - supreme courts - appeal courts.

Chapter four

Family law and divorce

Divorce and separation - Family Law Act 1975 - landmark changes in 2006 - family dispute resolution - parenting plans - equal shared responsibility - best interests of child - child-related proceedings - independent children's lawyer.

Chapter five

Property and money matters

Property after separation - how the court decides property and financial issues - child support.


Hot Topics 82: Families. Hot Topics is intended as an introductory guide only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, the Legal Information Access Centre does not assume responsibility for any errors or omissions.

© Library Council of New South Wales 2012. Copyright in Hot Topics is owned by the Library Council of New South Wales. Material contained herein may be copied for the non-commercial purpose of study or research, subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).