Family Violence & Family Law

Family Violence & Family Law

Under section 4AB the Family Law Act Family Violence is defined as:

Violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family (the family member ), or causes the family member to be fearful.
This type of behaviour may include:

(a) a physical assault; or

(b) a sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour; or

(c) stalking; or

(d) repeated derogatory taunts; or

(e) intentionally damaging or destroying property; or

(f) intentionally causing death or injury to an animal; or

(g) unreasonably denying the family member the financial autonomy that he or she would otherwise have had; or

(h) unreasonably withholding financial support; or

(i) preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture; or

(j) unlawfully depriving the family member, or any member of the family member‘s family, of his or her liberty.

The Court recognizes that there is a close connection between family breakdown and family violence. Protecting family members, and particularly children, from the effects of family violence will be a decisive factor in making any orders, but in particular when determining what is in the best interests of a child.

Family Violence and Compulsory Family Dispute Resolution

Under s60i of the Family Law Act parties are required to make a genuine effort to resolve their dispute by family dispute resolution before making an application to the Court. If you or your family have experienced, or are at risk of, family violence or child abuse, you may seek an exemption from this requirement.

Safety when Attending Court

Ensuring the safety of all people engaged in the family law system, including when attending court, is a high priority for the Court. If you have concerns about your safety when attending court you can make a request through the court Registry for access to a secure room. This will ensure that any contact you have with your former spouse is limited.

Court staff if advised of your situation may also assist you to leave the building by a different exit if it appears that there is a risk to your safety.

Intervention Orders and Family Court

Whether you are making an application for Property Settlement or an Application for Parenting orders or both, it is important that the court is aware if there is an Intervention order in place. When a court knows about an Intervention order, it can make parenting orders that take the order into account. This may include arranging for an independent person to be present at any hand-over times or order that any contact with the child/ren take place under supervision at a children’s contact centre.

If the court is unaware of the existence of an Intervention order, it may unknowingly make a parenting order that may put the person who has been granted the Intervention order or the child/ren named that order at risk of violence.

Call Matthews Lawyers for assistance if you need it – 0401269091