Legal Studies – the Family Law Amendment (Shared Responsibility) Act 2006

The Family Law Amendment (Shared Responsibility) Act 2006 commenced on the first of July 2006 assists in the way that separating parents resolve their disputes involving the best interests of their children. This law is still taking time to make an effect on divorcing and separating parents, as sources show that shared custody arrangements or 50:50 joint custody makes little effect on the children involved in these situations.

This was achieved through a major study conducted by Bruce Smyth and Bryan Rodgers who showed that children in shared care are no worse off or no better than those who see the other parent every second weekend for example [Source E]. The aim of the legislation was to change the past 1995 reforms as they failed to achieve the desired impact of separating couples [source A]. The act was created also to encourage parents to share the parenting of their children by allowing them to have equal time with both mother and father and also for the major decisions and responsibilities of the children to be distributed evenly.

The law was changed because of the various groups who protested against the past regulations the law provided. The changes included the terminology, facilitation of shared parenting time and the concept that the separated parents both retain parental responsibility [Source A]. The new family law process outlined in the Every Picture Tells a Story report also creates an emphasis on parents coming to agreements in a ‘parenting plan’.

There was also a proposal to create a ‘Family Tribunal’, which was where the separating parents could work their issues with consultation and counseling without the invasive use of the courts. The government also put forward $400 million to be spent on 65 family relationship centres for counseling couples [Source B]. Groups who have been against the Family Law Amendment are law academics, judges, women’s legal services, and single mother groups, [source D] because of the issue of abuse from their spouses after the separation.

The act sets out that parents are to share the responsibility of the children between them, with the exclusion of abusive spouses. This therefore results in parents having to consult each other about their children’s education, religious and cultural upbringing, health, change of name, and also place of residence [Source A]. Also included in the act is that counseling would be offered to parents in assisting them to reach an agreement between both parties, and child support doesn’t have to be given until six weeks after the parents have separated.

The Act only previously allowing grandparents contact through applications however rights have been elevated and the relationship between the children and grandparents are taken directly into consideration when making the arrangements in the parenting plan. The presumption of equal shared responsibility in the amendment means that both parents have an equal role in making decisions about the major choices involving the children; for example what school they will attend.

The presumption however does not apply to a parent who has engaged in any abuse, violence or neglect towards the child, and was not included in the previous Act. With this the Act strives to provide the parents with equal shared responsibility which means the child spends a reasonably even amount of time with each parent (if it is in the best interest of the child). The main issue of the legislation is the increase in funding necessary for the Act to go ahead, as the proposals put forward for the committee, family centres, and other programs require a great deal of money to be established.

Tax payers are forced to contribute more so that these can be provided, however in saying this establishing the inquisitorial tribunal creates a more level playing field for separating partners, particularly if one party cannot afford private legal representation [Source A]. In excluding legal representation, which is what happens in this process, creates a lesser need for lawyers to be involved in family matters, therefore those representing families will no longer be needed.

According to the National Association of Community Legal Centres they suggest that the new family law and processes “may be harmful to children” [Source B]. Compulsory mediation may force separated parents to communicate and associate with their former abusive partners, who may blackmail or force that parent to agree to an arrangement that benefits the abuser. This leads to a lifetime of fear and anticipation of more abusive from the former partner. According to the legislation, if a report or suspicion of abuse has arisen, the mediation will not go forward nor will it agree to unsafe parenting arrangements.

While some children benefit from the equal shared parenting arrangements, it doesn’t mean that some are better or worse off than others. Joint physical custody has been found to be workable only in a minority of separations where parents have freely chosen the arrangement. The cases in which the shared parenting has generally worked is when there is no record of abuse or conflict and when there is commitment from both parents. [Source C]. Throughout this whole process the mediation is voluntary, and can stop at any time as the couples wish.

The parties have access to legal advice, either during the mediation or before signing any mediated agreement [Source B]. There are many financial problems with this Act, as separated parents have to pay for the children independently and cannot find stability with their finances in order to pay for schooling, health and so forth. There is also the major issue that is domestic violence. The Act reinforced a fine for making false allegations about abuse and therefore some parents were pressured into making parental agreements that involved the abuser.

This also made some victims too scared to tell courts about abuse or violence directed at their children [Source F]. This law is affective, however could be revised in order to benefit the parents. The financial problems that are caused by this law are unavoidable for some families, as one parent or both may struggle to afford to make ends meet. The court could evaluate each parent’s financial status and the ability of them to be economically safe in order to enable them to be able to raise the children effectively.

However in saying this, the court should not take children off one parent if they are not capable to pay for the child, especially if the other parent is reportedly an abuser. Abusive parents should be constantly monitored whilst mediating with the other parent (if the victim wants mediation) and the child should have a say in which parent they think is able to look after them. Abusive spouses should not be allowed any contact with the victim while proceedings are happening, so that they do not coerce the other parent into an unfair parenting agreement.

The abused parent should also be supervised during this period so that it is seen that they are not influenced or blackmailed by the abuser. The Act should focus more on the child’s need than the parents. While both parents have equal shared responsibility, the child should be involved in the parenting agreements and have a fair say in what happens to them. It is argued that the Act focuses more on the parent’s rights than the children’s needs, and that the reforms favor fathers more than mothers [Source F].

In conclusion, it is believed that the Act is not effective however has improved the rights of equal responsibility between parents. It is said that shared care is proving successful for many parents, [Source E] however parents are the only beneficiaries from this because the arrangement aids them more than the child, as the Act is more in the parents favor than the children’s. The Act should be revaluated so that it is beneficial to all parties.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyStudyWriters
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Criminal Justice
The paper was not accused of plagiarism and was written very well. I will let you know the grade once it is graded. Thank you
Customer 452671, April 26th, 2021
ACC/543: Managerial Accounting & Legal Aspects Of Business
Customer 452773, January 10th, 2024
Business and administrative studies
Excellent work ,always done early
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
Looks great and appreciate the help.
Customer 452675, April 26th, 2021
English 101
great summery in terms of the time given. it lacks a bit of clarity but otherwise perfect.
Customer 452747, June 9th, 2021
Business Studies
Thank you very much for a good job done and a quick turn around time.
Customer 452615, March 31st, 2021
Don't really see any of sources I provided, but elsewise its great, thank you!
Customer 452697, May 8th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
Excellent job
Customer 452773, March 9th, 2023
Leadership Studies
excellent job
Customer 452773, August 3rd, 2023
Business and administrative studies
excellent work
Customer 452773, March 12th, 2023
Business and administrative studies
Customer 452773, February 23rd, 2023
Thank you for your hard work and help.
Customer 452773, February 13th, 2023
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp