The Future of Family Law Property Settlement in Australia: A 50:50 Split or a Community of Property Regime? Some Issues for Women
AbstractOn 30 March 1999 the Attorney-General released a discussion paper entitled 'Family Law and Property - Options for Reform'. It proposed two options for significantly changing matrimonial property law - a starting point for dividing the property 50:50 based on the assumption that the parties have contributed equally to the property, and a 'community of property' system where on the breakdown of a marriage each party gets 50% of the communal property. The discussion paper shows that, in developing these reforms, the policy makers do not appear to have learnt from recent experience in relation to the Family Law Reform Act 1995 (Cth). That is, they have ignored the expertise of women's groups, their ideas, issues and concerns. As a result the proposed 'reforms' amount to unjust and inappropriate changes to the law. And they have not developed a clear 'rationale' for the 'reforms'. As the Chief Justice of the Family Court has put it, they have not made it clear "... what it is that needs to be reformed and why such reform is necessary."
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