Domestic Violence and Family Law

What are the impacts of domestic violence upon the family law presumption of ‘shared parental responsibility'?

The presumption of shared parental responsibility means that both parents are presumed to have involvement in the major long-term issues affecting their child. In cases involving domestic violence however, the presumption of shared parental responsibility will not apply. The court is bound to make its decision based upon the best interests of the child.

How does the existence of domestic violence impact upon the requirement to mediate in family law disputes?

In Australian family law there is a general requirement that parties attempt ‘pre-action procedures’ as a means of resolving their matter. In parenting matters it will be necessary to obtain a certificate from a Family Law Dispute Resolution Practitioner. In situations where domestic violence is present this requirement will be waived.

What is the impact of domestic violence in a family law property settlement matter?

Property settlement proceedings in family law are characterised by a Four Step Process.

  1. The creation of an asset pool
  2. Assessing contributions
  3. Identifying needs
  4. Just and equitable division

In circumstances where there is evidence to suggest that there was ongoing and serious domestic violence throughout the course of the marriage or de facto relationship, contributions made by a party during this period may be favourably adjusted to reflect the existence of violence.


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