Family law is the most complex aspect of the Australian legal system as it is constantly under review and reform pursuing to adopt society’s continual change in values and principles. The changing of laws in an attempt to be parallel with society is a strenuous process. Nevertheless, legislations are reflective of contemporary society’s values and ethics. Numerous legal issues arise in regards to family including, same sex relationships, domestic violence and divorce ideally on the best interest of the child, where family laws have been imposed to protect individuals and aim to achieve justice.
Traditionally, marriage was considered to be a voluntary union between a man and a woman defined by Hyde Vs Hyde and Woodmansee (1866) case and the unit of family was that of the “nuclear family” comprising of a mother, father and naturally conceived dependent children.
Homesexual relationship refers to two people of the same sex committed to a bona fide partnership. During the 20th century, same-sex relationships created controversy as they were heavily discriminated in all aspects of their life. They were not recognised as a legitimate family developing the inequality of rights and provisions in regards to child adoption and social security benefits. As a response to societal changing values, the legal system amended the De Facto Relationship Act 1984 (NSW) enacting the Property(Relationships) Legislation Amendment Act 1999 (NSW) which recognised same sex relationships having the same legal standing as de facto relationships. This law allowed same sex couples to achieve justice by having greater access to facilities such as the district court for property and economic division in an event of a relationship breakdown. Also, the legislation recognised hospital visitation rights and the inheritance rights of one partner if the other dies, recognising the... [continues]
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