ABOUT FAMILY LAW

Australia's family law system helps people resolve the legal aspects of family relationship issues – including relationship breakdown, property and parenting arrangements.

The Family Law subjects in the Postgraduate Applied Law Programs deal with the legal aspects of working with families. 

The Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution Practice (FDRP) equips those looking to become Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners with the tools to help resolve disputes caused by separation or divorce. 

Choose from: 

  • Master of Applied Law (Family Law)
  • LLM (Applied Law) with a major in family law
  • Graduate Diploma of Applied Law (Family Law)
  • Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution Practice

It completely changes the way you practise. It takes you to another level. You can really tell lawyers that have actually done the course because they practise at a completely different level.

Catherine Leach

Managing Director, Leach Legal, Perth Australia

cOURSE iNFORMATION

FLP1 - Foundations of Family Law Practice*

This subject family law is concerned with people, rather than property or financial matters. It includes the law and practice concerning parenting after separation or divorce. It also examines the law and practice of divorce. The subject aims to provide you with a strong foundation for practising in family law and covers most common issues encountered by family lawyers in practice. A more advanced subject deals with topics which are less common in law practice.

Topics
  • Introduction to family law
  • Shared parental responsibility and legislative pathways
  • Statutory considerations to determine the best interests of the child
  • Child abuse and family violence
  • Relocation and recovery of children
  • Variation and enforcement of parenting orders
  • Ethical and professional responsibility issues in children's cases
  • Divorce, nullity and validity of marriages
FLP2 - Property, Maintenance and Child Support*

This subject provides students with an introduction and overview of the process for resolving property and maintenance disputes with a focus on issues encountered in everyday practice. On satisfactory completion of this subject you will understand fundamental theories and practices in family law property, maintenance and child support practice, and have an understanding of how to apply this knowledge in professional practice. You will be able to use and explain this knowledge to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Using practice-based analytical and critical thinking skills, you will be able to apply this knowledge to problem-solving and decision-making in practice.

Topics
  • Jurisdictional issues and spousal maintenance
  • Ethical issues when acting for a party in family law financial proceedings
  • The four step process: introduction and step 1
  • The four step process: steps 2, 3 and 4
  • Conciliation conference, private mediation and costs in family law proceedings
  • Superannuation splitting, and tax, revenue and valuation issues
  • Evidence
  • Documenting a settlement of a financial matter, and child support
FLP3 - Conducting Family Law Matters*

Conducting a family law matter – whether involving property, parenting, child support or other issues – requires a range of skills and procedural knowledge. This subject covers the steps involved in reaching a settlement, from your first conference with the client, through to the end of a final hearing. At the end of this subject you will be able to apply a problem-solving methodology and knowledge of procedural law to the conduct of all aspects of family law matters, both in and out of court.

Topics
  • Conducting first conference, compulsory mediation and pre-action procedures
  • Preparing for hearing
  • Commencing proceedings and interim proceedings
  • Court events and documents, Division 12A proceedings and financial proceedings
  • Preparing for and presenting the final hearing
  • Dispute resolution
  • Evidence
  • Ethical Issues, and interlocutory processes and appeals processes
FLP11 - Advanced Parenting Issues*

This subject will build on FLP1 Foundations of Family Law and will provide a practical and in-depth study of the more complex, evolving and emerging issues in the areas of parenting, children and family law.

Topics
  • Practice and procedure – the legislative framework
  • Practice and procedure – specific issues
  • Parentage - who is a "parent"
  • Financial aspects of parenting – child maintenance and child support
  • Representation of children and the role of the independent children’s lawyer
  • The role of the states and territories in relation to child protection and adoption
  • Complex parenting issues for the 21st century
  • Practice and procedure – the final hearing, costs and appeals
FLP12 - Advanced Issues in Property, Maintenance and Child Support*

Family law is a multifaceted area of legal practice which helps people to deal with the legal aspects of family disputes, including relationship breakdowns. This subject provides an in-depth understanding of some of the more complex issues in property, spousal maintenance and child support, such as cross-border disputes, taxation issues, bankruptcy and the court’s power to bind third parties. The subject takes a practical approach to equip family law practitioners with the knowledge and skills to deal with these advanced issues in practice.

Topics
  • Jurisdiction in property matters, ascertaining the asset pool and categorising interests
  • Corporations, trusts, partnerships and businesses
  • Third parties, competing claims and bankruptcy
  • Cross-border disputes
  • Orders, agreements, setting aside and taxation issues
  • Interim relief: injunctions, interim property orders and spousal maintenance
  •  Advanced issues in child support
  • Appeals and stays in family law proceedings
FLP13 - Development & Management of a Family Law Practice

This subject is about the development and management of your family law practice. As you will be aware, managing any legal practice requires a different set of skills to the technical and practical aspects of working as a lawyer on legal matters. Establishing a new legal practice and managing that practice for growth can be challenging. The personal circumstances and particular pressures facing many family law clients bring another dynamic to management of a family law practice. This subject considers a range of issues that are relevant to the effective and efficient conduct of a family law practice.

Topics
  • Introduction to developing and managing a family law practice
  • Getting started
  • Financial Management - Pricing and costs, and leveraging for productivity profit
  • Financial indicators
  • Risk Management Systems Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Managing People and Managing Clients
  • Managing Yourself
FLP14 - Family Dispute Resolution

Family dispute resolutions are where an independent accredited practitioner helps affected people resolve disputes with each other. There are various dispute resolution options that are available in family law matters. It is important that family law practitioners have a firm understanding of these options, select the most appropriate one for the case at hand and advice their clients accordingly. 

  • The family law dispute resolution spectrum and legislative framework
  • Understanding disputes
  • Less adversarial approaches: Magellan and less adversarial trials 
  • Negotiation 
  • Family dispute resolution processes and communication skills
  • Issues of power and culture
  • Child informed mediation, Legal Aid conferences and collaborative law
  • Non-adversarial practice and family law – representing the client
FLP15 - Advocacy in Family Law

This subject is skills based and focused on developing advocacy skills in family law matters. Many lawyers are aware that their advocacy skills can require fine-tuning because of the increasing use of dispute resolution mechanisms. An increasing number of lawyers are choosing to appear as an advocate in their matters on interim hearings and sometimes even on final hearings. Whether you appear as a lawyer/advocate in a matter or you choose to brief counsel, it is important that the lawyer with carriage of the matter has a good working knowledge of the various stages of proceedings and their obligations.

  • Role of the advocate
  • Preparing for hearing
  • Division 12A and financial proceedings
  • Evidence
  • Examination-in-chief and witnesses
  • Cross-examination and re-examination
  • Submissions, reviews, stay applications and the slip rule
  • Interlocutory applications and appeals
FLP00 - Capstone Project (Family Law)

The Capstone Project is taken as your final subject, as a culmination of the knowledge and skills attained throughout your major. It will allow you to demonstrate your skills in a specialist practice area using real-life scenarios and case studies.

Throughout the intake, you will receive individualised feedback from your lecturer and will also have access to a rich array of skills modules that include guides, samples, and practice exercises for honing your legal skills.

The highlight of the Capstone Project is the final task, where you will prepare a Final Portfolio that demonstrates your legal writing, research, and oral skills.

The subject has four components:
  • Four short answer questions
  • Two legal writing samples

* NSW, VIC, QLD and WA specific content

 


Advisory Board

Justice Ann Ainslie-Wallace Family Court of Australia 

Judge Elizabeth Boyle Judge, Federal Circuit Court 

Dr Jacoba Brasch QC Barrister 

Ian Serisier Barrister and Mediator 

Glenn Thompson Partner, Newnhams Solicitors 

 

Teaching Staff

Simon Cooper Barrister, E-Chambers

Clare Dart Barrister, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Nationally Accredited Mediator, Family Law Arbitrator

Susan Hamilton-Green Family Lawyer and FDRP, Intandem Legal Services, Creative Family Law Solutions, Accredited Specialist (Family Law and Mediation), AIFLAM, LEADR, VADR

Danielle Jaku-Greenfield Mediator, lecturer and writer, Sydney Mediation Partnership, NMAS, LEADR

Ray James James & Associates Solicitors, NSW Accredited Specialist (Family Law)

Kathryn Kearley College of Law Senior Lecturer, Head of Co operative Program (NSW) and Australian Catholic University adjunct lecturer

Briana Kotzapavlidis Principal, Tisher Liner FC Law

Sylvia Maramis Barrister, Owen Dixon Chambers

Doris Matias Associate Director, Culshaw Miller Lawyers

Selina Nikoloudakis Mellor Olsson LawyersSenior Associate and Accredited Family Law Specialist

Rachel Oakley Barrister, John Tooey Chambers, Nationally Accredited AIFLAM Mediator

Norman O'Dowd Solicitor in charge, Family Litigation, Legal Aid NSW, Accredited Specialist (Family Law)

Graham Quinlivan Member, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, QLS Children’s Committee

Ian Serisier Barrister

Stacey Taylor Special Counsel, Wisewould Mahoney Lawyers

Glenn Thompson OAM Partner, Newnhams Solicitors, NSW Accredited Specialist (Family Law)

Mark Youssef Partner, Taylor & Scott, NSW Accredited Specialist (Family Law), Specialist Accreditation Advisory Committee Member (Law Society of NSW)