Family Law terms

Child Support
Collaborative Law
Domestic or Family Violence
Mediation
Relocation of a Child
Separation and Divorce

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Separation and divorce

Separation is normally a very unsettling stage in anyone’s life when people must cope with changes and grief at the same time that they may have to make decisions about their future, their children and property. The first decision should be to gain information and knowledge about the range of services and support available, government financial assistance, counseling and mediation services. Parties should also obtain appropriate legal advice. Only when all this knowledge and information is obtained is a person prepared to start making decisions about the future and possibly divorce. Return to Top

Relocation of a Child

When a parent moves with a child away from the other parent to another town or state or even to another country, he/she must obtain permission (leave) from the Family Court. In family law terminology, such a move is known as “relocation”. Leave is normally only required when the relocation will affect the frequency and length of visits between the child and the parent that stays behind.

Further Reading: Relocation – When a child moves awayReturn to Top

Mediation

The vast majority of family law matters are settled by mediation. Nearly 95% of family law matters settle [1] and a large proportion of those settle through the process of mediation. Mediation is compulsory (with some exceptions) in family law matters as parties must attempt to settle matters even before they commence litigation. So, what is mediation? It is the process of settling a dispute with the assistance of an intermediary by compromise. There is a range of mediation services available, parties may select to attend mediation centers or to engage a private mediator. An essential prerequisite before one embarks in the mediation process is to receive appropriate advice about legal entitlements and prospects. The mediation process is a finely balanced act between a party’s entitlement and acceptable compromise.Return to Top

Collaborative law

Collaborative law is a way of resolving family law disputes that requires the parties and their respective solicitors to enter into a contract the basic tenet of which is that the parties and their respective solicitors contract out of litigation and agree to resolve all matters in dispute by negotiation. The core elements of collaborative law are that the parties and their respective clients enter into a contractual arrangement:

  • To “negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without using court to decide any issues for the clients”
  • For the “withdrawal of the professionals if either client goes to court”
  • To “engage in open communication and information sharing, and
  • [To] create shared solutions that take into account the highest priorities of both parties”

Elringtons is one of the firms that have embraced collaborative law in Canberra.  Carlos Turini (Partner) is a trained collaborative law practitioner. Further Reading: Collaborative Law – A new approach to Family LawReturn to Top

Child Support

The parents of a child have a duty to support their children financially while the children are under the age of 18 years pursuant to the Child Support Assessment Act (1989) (“the Act”). The primary carer of the child or children can make a claim for child support from the other parent under the Act. Child support arrangements are administered by the Child Support Agency (CSA). The CSA will decide on the amount of support to be be provided by assessing each parent’s income, the number of children and their living arrangements.

Further Reading: Child Support – The formula Challenging a Child Support Assessment Private Binding Child Support Agreements

Domestic or Family Violence

‘Family violence’ or Domestic violence now includes:

Violent, threatening or other behaviour that coerces or controls a family member or causes the family member to be fearful. Examples given under the act include:

  • Assault, including sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Derogatory taunts
  • Intentionally damaging or destroying property
  • Intentionally causing death or injury to an animal
  • Unlawfully depriving the family member of his or her liberty
  • Preventing the family member from keeping connections with family, friends and culture.

Abuse now includes:

  • An assault, including sexual assault, of the child;
  • Sexual activity with the child
  • Causing the child to suffer serious psychological harm, including when that harm is caused by being exposed to family violence;
  • Serious neglect of the child.

If you have fears for your safety or that of your children you should contact the police.

Further Reading: Domestic Violence – An ubiquitous problem in our SocietyReturn to Top – includes contact numbers for services providing assistance to victims of family or domestic violence

For more information, contact Carlos Turini

p: (02) 6206 1300 | e: cturini@elringtons.com.au

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[1] 95% of Matters Settle out of Court

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