Family Law Assessment Essay

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Family Law Assessment Part 2: Essay
‘Evaluate the effectiveness of the law in achieving justice for parties involved in relationship breakdowns.’ Society’s changing social values towards the notion of ‘family’ has resulted in the legal system attempting to reform the law to reflect these changes. Due to the range of family types that exist today, relationship breakdowns have become complex. The legal system aims to provide a fair and equitable outcome for parties; however, this is a challenge due to conflicting interests of parties. This essay will discuss the following issues of relationship breakdowns: financial agreements, compulsory family dispute resolution, the best interests of the child and domestic violence. Financial agreements are a mechanism designed to achieve a just outcome for parties in relationship breakdowns. The ability of both parties to negotiate agreeable terms in financial agreements achieves a fairer and equitable outcome than one that would result out of litigation. In addition, financial agreements have time and cost benefits, are accessible to both married and de facto couples and are legally binding under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). Hence, the Family Court cannot override the terms of a binding financial agreement unless one of the parties can prove that it is void. In the case of Kostres and Kostres [2009] FamCAFC, the parties had executed a pre-nuptial agreement with the intention to mutually share the assets obtained during marriage in the event of a divorce. Mrs Kostres sought to uphold the terms of the agreement but dispute arose regarding the interpretation of the agreement. On appeal by the husband, the Full Court nullified the financial agreement due to the difficulty in determining the intentions of the parties. Although financial agreements are aimed at achieving justice for parties, this case indicates that interests of parties become conflicting as the relationship breaks down, hence undermining the original...
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