Family Law and What It Entails

Posted on: 15 January 2018

Family law encompasses a wide range of legal issues that affect family relations. Australian family law covers issued regarding de facto relationships, marriage, children, property settlement and other related matters. Here is a look at some of the issues covered under this law:

De Facto Relationships

A de facto relationship can be defined as a close relationship between two adults either of the same sex or different sexes who are legally not married, but living together giving one another domestic support and personal care.  Those in same sex relationships currently don't have the right to marry in Australia.

Legally, there needs to be proof that a de facto relationship has been in existence. This can be proved through the period of the relationship, involvement of children and their care, the public view of the relationship and financial and property elements.

In case of separation in a de facto relationship, the separated couple can enjoy the same rights of child care and property division as in a "real" marriage. However, under family law the court must beyond reasonable doubt prove that the couple had lived for at least two years or had a child together (or both). The court might also need to consider how property was acquired during the relationship and the contributions of each partner to the relationship as a whole.


Marriage can simply be described as an internationally recognized mutual voluntary agreement between two adults of opposite sex (or same sex in some countries) to live together till the death of either party or both.

For your marriage to be legally viable under the Australian family law, you must observe stipulated guidelines outlined by the law. For instance, neither of the party should be in another marriage; the couple must be 18 years and above or have a court order if aged below 18 years. Overseas marriages are also recognised in Australia provided they are validly and legally recognised in those other countries. 

In Australian family law, divorce may be granted through the courts in cases where a marriage has irretrievably broken down. A divorce order can be filled jointly by both parties or individually. For divorce to be granted, there must be proof that the marriage existed.

Family law is wide and encompasses a variety of relationship based topics that cannot be fully covered here. It is therefore, important to seek the services of a family law attorney when dealing with family law related matters.