"Family Law" was a compelling drama which tackled complicated legal issues in the field of family law. The attorneys in this Southern California firm served their clients by handling divorce, custody, children's rights and the occasional murder case in the pursuit of justice. CBS cancelled the show in May, 2002 after airing 68 episodes, citing low ratings as the cause of its demise.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Family Law - Family Law Act 1975 - Netflix
The Family Law Act 1975, referred to as the FLA by legal practitioners, is an Act of the Australian Parliament. It has 15 parts and is the main Australian legislation dealing with divorce, parenting arrangements between separated parents (whether married or not), property separation, and financial maintenance involving children or divorced or separated de facto partners.
Family Law - Parenting orders - Netflix
Part VII of the Act deals with the custody and welfare of children in Australia, regardless of the relationship between the parents. The Part has been amended significantly in 1995, 2006, and 2011. Children's matters are determined on the basis of who the child will 'live with' and 'spend time with' (terms which were formerly labeled 'residence' and 'contact' respectively). Although the term custody often refers to where children live, the concept was abolished in 1995 with the Family Law Reform Act. The concept of custody gave much wider decision making powers to the parent with whom children lived, than either the concept of 'residence' or 'live with'. Since 1995 both parents legally have the same (but not shared) parental responsibility for children, regardless of where and with whom the children live, until and unless a court makes a different order. Parental responsibility is the ability to make decisions that affect the day-to-day and long term care and welfare of the child, and can include things such as what school they attend and what their name is. The Act does not specify that the person with whom the child is to reside or spend time with must necessarily be their natural parent, and provision is made for anyone 'concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child' to apply to the Court for orders. In all proceedings, the paramount consideration is the 'best interests of the child', and the Court will not make an order that is contrary to these interests. If there is a dispute about parenting matters and the case is placed before a court, then the Court must apply a presumption that it is in the best interests of children that their parents have equal shared parental responsibility for the children. In practical terms this means that parents must consult one another about major decisions affecting the care of children (but not day-to-day decisions), whereas without that order parents can make decisions together or without consulting each other. The presumption does not apply in circumstances of family violence or there has been any abuse (including sexual abuse) of a child, a parent or any family member living with the child. There is no presumption of equal time with the child, however, if the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility has not been rebutted, the Court must consider whether it is in the best interests of the child and whether it is reasonably practicable. If the decision is made to not allocate equal time in such circumstances, then the Court is required to consider allocating 'substantial and significant' time instead. Substantial and significant time includes weekends, weekdays, special days and holidays, and in practical terms usually means more than every second weekend. The basis on which who the child lives with and spends time with (and how much time is spent) is determined firstly with reference to the best interests principle. What is in the child's 'best interests' is determined with reference to the primary and secondary considerations found under s.60CC, and it is by reference to these factors that argument proceeds in the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court of Australia. Full custody (a 'live with' order) will usually be awarded to the parent who is better able to demonstrate that they can meet the child's best interests.
Part VIII of the Act deals with the distribution of property after a marriage breakdown, and the Court has broad power under section 79 to order property settlement between parties based on a number of factors regarding 'contribution' and 'future needs'. Because of the limitation of Commonwealth power, until 1 March 2009 the Family Court could adjudicate on a property dispute if it arose out of only a matrimonial relationship. In 2009 the states agreed to refer power to the Commonwealth to include breakup of de facto relationships (including same sex relationships) which was accepted. The changes, passed by the Labor Rudd Government, came into effect on 1 March 2009. Prior to this de facto and same-sex couples did not have the same property rights as married couples under the Act, and so had to rely on their state's de facto relationship legislation. Such claims were often much harder to prove than under the Act, and did not include all the same considerations as under the Act, and could result in a more uneven or diminished distribution of property than would otherwise be possible. It is necessary to bring a property claim before or within 12 months of the divorce occurring or two years of separation for de facto couples, although unlike property proceedings in various other countries, the two usually occur separately. A standard s.79 property adjustment, has 4 steps: 1. Identify the marital assets and ascribe a value to them The assets which may be distributed under the Act include the totality of the parties' joint and several assets. The amount of property is determined at the date of hearing rather than at the date of divorce, so this can also include property acquired after separation. Superannuation is also a marital asset under s.90MC, but will not be available for distribution until it 'vests'. 2. Look at each party's contributions to the marriage under s.79(4) This section of the Act contains a list of factors by which the Court can determine who contributed what to the marriage. Broadly, the contributions can be taken as financial in nature (for example, paying off a mortgage) or non-financial in nature (for example, taking care of the children). The party which can demonstrate a larger contribution to the marital relationship will receive a larger proportion of the assets. 3. Look at each party's financial resources and future needs under s.75(2) and adjust accordingly 4 The court then considers whether the proposed distribution is just and equitable After the parties' contributions have been established, a final adjustment is made according to their individual future needs. These needs can include factors such as an inability to gain employment, the continued care of a child under 18 years of age, and medical expenses. This is often used to account for a party which has not shown a great deal of substantive contributions, but will require money to live on as a result of factors largely outside of its control.