Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Austraian Legal System in Adressing Family Issues

Topics: Same-sex marriage, Family, Marriage Pages: 6 (2303 words) Published: August 4, 2010
Evaluate the effectiveness of the Australian legal system in recognising and protecting the changing nature of the family’.

Society has often advanced quicker than the Legal system and often the Legal system tends to lag behind or sometimes has to tend to societal values. An area that the legal system seems to be addressing with respects to societal values is through recognising and protecting the changing nature of the family. The Australian Legal system has been moderately effective in recognising and protecting the changing nature of the family, through various legislation, and common law the Legal system has effectively been able to recognise and protect the changing nature of the family in regards to key areas such as de facto relationships, same sex marriages, rights of the children, divorce and adoption as well as recognising multiple different types of relationships in the country. However there have been some ineffective stances of the Australian legal system in recognizing and protecting the changing nature of the family for example statistics highlighting that one third of children in separated families never seeing their fathers as well as the inability for same sex couples to get married.

Australia has proven effective in recognising the changing nature of the families, an example of this is the recognition of different families. Most families fall under the legal status of marriage which derives from the case of Hyde Vs Woodmansee (1866) which states”marriage is a voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others “. The nuclear family- a husband and wife and a child, blended family- a husband and a wife from separated relationships with step children, extended families- were more than just the mother and father are staying under the one household, and finally the increasing mixed family revealed in the article “Well be a nation of new migrants”, revealing Australia’s quick response in dealing and with and recognising the change in societal values. Thus the Australian legal system recognises and has employed measures in order to protect these families highlighting the effectiveness of the legal system.

Furthermore the Australian legal system recognises relationships that don’t fall under the definition of marriage. This includes those who fall under a De Facto relationship meaning an unmarried heterosexual or same sex couple living in the same residence and may have children. De facto relationships have been recognised through the Family Law Act 1975(commonwealth) and are protected immensely especially through the NSW Property Relationship Act 1984 recognising De Facto Relationships in NSW and also governs spousal maintenance. This means if a separation occurs between the two it is dealt with in the same manner as a married couple. Were the couple go through the same process and must agree or go to the courts in order to determine who contributed to the relationship as well if any there are any kids in the family and who receives custody with regards to the best interest of the child. This is extremely important as statistics show that De Facto Relationships have risen from 5% of couples in 1982 in comparison to 12% of couple families in 2001. This shows the relationship between society and the law as de facto relationships went on the rise the law changed according to the high rise. Furthermore De Facto’s were finally granted the exact same status as married couples in 2008 through the Family law amendment (de facto financial matters and other measures act). This act meant that de facto couples will be in the same position as married couples under the Family law act 1975. The act is also intended to remove discrimination against de facto couples, by enabling them to resolve their financial and parenting issues in the family law courts using nationally consistent processes. The law also meant that mistresses were now able to claim for money if their partners had passed...
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