Ninemsn recently reported that a Victorian man has been sentenced to two months gaol after he beat his pregnant girlfriend. In a separate article, Ninemsn reported that a Sydney woman bit off her boyfriend’s tongue in a domestic dispute. There seems to be an increase in reporting in relation to violence between domestic couples. Perhaps it is due to the increase of violence between domestic couples or it may be indirectly related to the Family Law Act, recently being amended in relation to the family violence.
The most significant changes to the Family Law Act in relation to the family violence can be summarised as follows:
- There is now a new definition for “family violence” and “abuse” in relation to a child subject to parenting proceedings;
- When the Court is requested to consider parenting orders the Court is to give greater weight to a child’s protection rather than the other primary consideration, being “the benefit of the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents”;
- As solicitors, we now have new obligations in relation to the advice that we must give to our client’s who are considering parenting orders; and
- Once Court proceedings have commenced, the Court is obliged to now specifically ask each party to the dispute regarding parenting matters whether there has been any family violence and/or child abuse.
If you have separated or you are thinking about separating from your partner and you wish to seek advice in relation to how the new family violence amendments may affect you in consideration of parenting orders for your children, please contact one of our solicitors to discuss your options. We have solicitors able to meet with you at our Sydney, Parramatta, Wollongong or Canberra office.