How has the changing nature of society and communal values resulted in law reform?
As societies and social values evolve, law reform is implemented to ensure that the legal system is parallel to changing communal values. In the aspect of family law, law reforms have been initiated in a range of aspects such as parental responsibility, alternate family relationships, surrogacy, birth technologies and more.
Alternate family relationships:
Whilst previously the general idea of family was a married couple with children, changes in social and communal values have resulted in alternate family arrangements. To mirror this change, the legal system has implemented reform to recognise these alternate arrangements. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Customary marriages:
Previously, ATS customary marriages were not recognised under the Australian legal system as they did not fulfil all of the requirements of the Marriages Act however over time the legal system has recognised that this has resulted in unfair treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in many instances such as taxation, superannuation, compensation, property and children. Thus, the government now recognises ATS marriages albeit to a limited extent. They are given the same rights as de facto relationships in aspects such as legitimacy of children, adoption, fostering and child welfare laws, distribution of property, intestacy, compensation, superannuation (covered by Social Security Act) and tax rebate. De Facto Couples:
Whilst earlier, society frowned upon couples living together in a bona fide relationship prior to marriage, this has become a common aspect of modern society with a large percentage of couples living together in a de facto relationship prior to marriage and some even opting to not get married. To accommodate for this evolution of communal ideals, reform was implemented through the Property (relationships) Act 1984, providing legal recognition for de facto relationships given...
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