Family Law - a law unto itself
The Family Law Act - 1975 and Divorce Stats
13 December, 1973
Senator Lionel Murphy introduced his Family Law Bill into the Senate
as a replacement for the Matrimonial Causes Act. Senator Murphy introduced
the Bill with the words "Mr President, this measure is a most important
social reform. It will affect the lives of many." (Hansard
The Family Law Act was passed in December 1975 and a look at the table
below will show just how many Australian families have been affected.
||Divorce Rate %
Obviously, there are other factors contributing to the rising divorce
figures than just the "no-fault" divorce laws. Just as there are other factors
contributing to the lessening in popularity of marriage. The following table
shows quite clearly countries embracing a "no fault" divorce policy have
substantially higher rates of divorce. Perhaps we can learn something from
||Divorce Rate %
||ABS 1996 Stats
||SBS TV 7 Days Program
||Time Magazine March 1966
Germany has not embraced "no fault divorce" Note the level of
divorce in that country.
The Australian Family Court claims only 5% of cases come before a Judge.
According to Justice John Faulks (Bulletin 18.10.94) "Just because 95% of
people who file Custody or Property don't end up before a judge does not
mean that they like what they end up with; a settlement simply means that
'one party has prevailed'. Or that one party has given up. The fact that
people have reached and agreement might simply mean that they are tired."
Far more likely is 'they have run out of money' and can no longer afford
to pursue their action before the court when the respondent is in possession
of a seemingly never-ending flow of taxpayers dollars via Legal Aid; or they
decide to withdraw to prevent their children being used as the prize awarded
to the winner!
Of the 5% of custody cases decided by the Family Court, 31% are in favour
of the father and a further 8% are allocated as split, joint or other (another
custodian) decisions. (Sophy Bordow 1992) In the situation of Consent Orders
the study shows 79% custody is with the mother, 18% father and split 3%.
Much more to follow when I'm able to collate the vast amount of info
and put it on-line. Any offers of assistance would be greatly appreciated
By Stephen Bourke, CCH Legal Publishers, 2002
New laws to allow for the splitting of superannuation on marriage breakdown
will commence on 28 December 2002.
The Weekend Australian, SAT 18 NOV 2000, By Adrian McGregor
They call it the Club, the male-dominated legal fraternity that looks after
Sunday Telegraph, (Sydney) 9 July 2000
The Family Court has consistently pursued its critics by instigating contempt
charges. But lately these citizens have been beating their powerful foe.
Sarah Harris reports.
The Australian, Wed. March 8, 2000
The Family Court brought contempt charges against a father hostile to
its decisions but, writes Bernard Lane, could not sustain them.
Half an hour after the collapse of the highly unusual contempt of
court case against him, PT, a 49-year-old pensioner, was back outside
the Family Court building in Melbourne, proffering pamphlets and crying
out, "Read the facts about the Family Court".
Perhaps immodestly, PT says: "My job is to close down the Family
Court." He cannot be identified because he has been a family law
Media commentary resulting from the release of the ALRC report.23/2/00
Canberra Times, 12/1/2000, by Aban Contractor
Attorney General Daryl Williams has been accused of deliberately misleading
a Government Senator over plans to jail parents who fall behind in child-support
The Australian - 31 December 1999.
Melba Edited by Graeme Leech
Revolt and retribution
Court makes disputes worse"
Letters to the Editor in The Australian
Wednesday 29/12 And even more on "Court
An editorial appeared in the Australian on Monday 27/12 -
here is MRA's letter published 29/12 in response to the Editorial and
the "Court Out" articles.
Editorial - "Families need
new ways of ending strife"
MRA Published letter - "Family
court unfair to men"
Tuesday 28/12 More on "Court Out"
Letters to the Editor from
Melba's Column Right
"Some feminists have chosen to excuse themselves from conventional modes
of human decency....."
"COURT OUT" (2 articles discuss the Family
One man's battle for his kids
by "Mr X"
The Australian, Weekend Focus, Friday 24/12/99
[Thank you to the Editors of the Australian for
publishing these two articles, well done! Thousand of fathers are extremely
thankful Mr X's story has been told. His experience closely mirrors their
More than a million Australian children will spend Christmas in a broken
home. As the Government tries to improve family justice, 'Mr X' tells of
his personal voyage of despair.
by Bernard Lane
A supporting commentary examining attitudes to the recent changes to reduce
the Family Court's caseload by transferring simpler cases to a Federal
No jail for child support debtors
(almost on line)
Email Communication to ALL Senators re: Family Law Amendement Bill
28th October, 1999.
The Chief Justice of the Family Court in Australia, Alastair Nicholson came
to the attention of the Americans and Canadians for his outspoken anti-male comments.
The Australian, October 1 1998, by Janet Fife-Yeomans
The Australian Family Court's reaction to the emergence , during the recent
Federal election , of the Abolish Family Court/Child Support Party.
Brisbane Sunday Mail, 15/3/98, Noel Whittacker
You can tell it is an election year - Prime Minister John Howard was prominent
in the media last weekend with his promise to legislate to allow women access
to their husbands superannuation upon divorce.
Mother Banned from Moving
The Sunday Mail, 5/10/97,
by Chris Taylor
- reported that a mother has been refused permission
A Gold Coast woman divorced from her husband a decade ago has been forbidden
by the Family Court to relocate to central Queensland to live with her
The move comes despite a landmark Family Court decision in July to allow
a Cairns mother of two top move interstate and remarry, against the wishes
of her former husband.
MRA note: The
husband in the B v. B case had no wish to prevent the mother's
remarriage - he just wanted to to maintain good contact with his
The ban on the Gold Coast woman orders her to reside within 100klms of her
former husband, so he can have access to their son, 11.
But documentation submitted to the court shows the woman had agreed her former
husband could have access to the boy at call and during the school holidays,
for which she has offered to pay travel expenses.
The Ashmore woman, 38, who was divorced in Victoria in 1987, now intends
to fight the ban through the courts, taking the matter to trial next year.
Her lawyer, Kerry Smith, last night described the situation as "disgusting".
It's a very, very sad situation that unfortunately a lot of people are finding
themselves in and the law is just not accommodating them," she said.
"This is a case where a woman is only trying to make a better life for herself
and of course he son."
"Now, she is being placed under great stress, not to mention what the whole
matter has and will cost."
The lawyer representing the child's father, Frank Sabben, said he could not
discuss the case in detail. He confirmed that the matter was being prepared
In an interim order in April, Brisbane Family Court Justice Jordan ordered
the woman to remain within 100km of her former husband. That order was upheld
during a further hearing last week.
The woman had moved to Western Australia earlier this year when her
obtained a new job. She returned under a Family Court order and her
was able to transfer to a new position near Gladstone.
She now fears he will be forced to resign the $1000-a-week job.
Canberra Times 13/8/97 Author: Roderick Campbell
A thought provoking article discussing the attitude displayed by the
Family Court towards joint custody. - Well worth reading and a response to
the Canberra Times
Relationship between 'no fault' divorce and divorce statistics