The Family Law Act 1975
The Family Law Act, 1975 Cth (Act) sets out the law in Australia on family and relationship matters. It deals extensively with issues surrounding the breakdown of relationships such as property settlement, divorce, spousal maintenance, superannuation splitting and children’s issues etc.
The Act allows you to make arrangements at the beginning, during or after a relationship to set out how property is to be dealt with in the event that the relationship breaks down at a later time.
All of these agreements, which can be made at any stage of a relationship, are called “Financial Agreements”.
The Family Law Act is a Commonwealth Act that governs all states of Australia, and applies to:-
- Married couples;
- De facto couples; and
- Same sex couples.
The only exception to this is the state of Western Australia which retains it’s own legislation on certain matters, including de facto property settlements (note that married couples in WA still fall under the Commonwealth Family Law Act).
Western Australia’s de facto provisions are contained in the Family Court Act, 1997 WA which largely mirrors those provisions contained in the Commonwealth Family Law Act.
These Acts are constantly changing and evolving to better provide for the needs of couples and families who are experiencing a breakdown of their relationship.
The latest changes to the family law came into effect on 7 June 2012 and aim to improve the way family violence is dealt with and in particularly, to provide better protection for children who may be the victim of family violence and abuse.
To view these Acts, or print a copy:-
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