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 provide a strong foundation for practising in family law and covers most common issues encountered by family lawyers in practice. It focuses on family law as it 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.

Topics
  • Parenting after separation
  • Shared parental responsibility
  • The legislative pathway for decision making about children
  • Factors considered when determining the best interests of a child
  • Social science research on what may benefit or harm children in relation to parenting arrangements
  • Child abuse and family violence as they relate to parenting disputes
  • Relocation and recovery of children
  • Variation and enforcement of parenting orders
  • Ethical issues in children’s matters
  • Elements for proof in a divorce application
  • Limitation periods which may apply
FLP2 - Property, Maintenance and Child Support*

This subject deals with property and financial matters such as spousal maintenance, child support and superannuation splitting. It aims to provide a strong foundation for practising in this area of family law, assuming that you may already have a reasonable familiarity with the basic principles of the subject.

Topics
  • Conducting the four-steps of analysis in section 79 matters
  • An overview of the ways of finalising a property settlement agreement, including drafting the various documents
  • Taxation issues in property agreements and orders
  • Superannuation splitting
  • An introduction to child support
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Ethics in family property law matters
FLP3 - Conducting Family Law Matters*

The subject aims to provide a problem-solving approach to the procedural aspects of the conduct of various types of family law matters, with particular emphasis on court and non-court processes.

Topics
  • Considerations to weigh up in deciding to initiate proceedings
  • Factors impacting on the drafting of interim applications
  • Determining when interlocutory proceedings are appropriate
  • Drafting enforceable final orders
  • Preparing and presenting a final hearing
  • Ethical issues
  • Child support
  • Conducting a first interview
FLP11 - Advanced Parenting Issues*

This subject provides an in-depth and practical study of the complex and emerging issues relating to validity of marriage, nullity, determining parenthood, parenting after separation and child protection.

Topics
  • Validity of marriage and nullity
  • Division 12A proceedings
  • The law of evidence in children’s cases
  • Orders in regard to specific issues
  • Grandparents and other relatives in family law disputes
  • DNA testing and determining paternity
  • The case law on Hague Convention cases
  • Best practice in the representation of children
  • Expert evidence in children’s matters
  • State child protection proceedings
FLP12 - Advanced Issues in Property, Maintenance and Child Support*

At the end of this subject you will be equipped to advise your clients on the more complex issues impacting on matters that involve property and financial issues.

Topics
  • Issues in the definition of property
  • Trusts, private companies and partnership interests
  • Power to bind third parties
  • Competing claims, creditors and bankruptcy
  • Expert evidence in financial matters
  • Setting aside orders and agreements
  • Cross-border issues in family property law
  • Big money/special skills cases
  • De facto property disputes
  • Advanced spouse maintenance – lump sum claims and large periodic orders
FLP13 - Development & Management of a Family Law Practice

Establishing a legal practice and managing that practice for growth can be difficult. The particular pressures facing many family law clients brings with it additional considerations when managing a family law practice.

This subject equips students with various methodologies to effectively develop and manage a family law practice.

Topics
  • Strategic and business planning
  • Pricing and costs
  • Leveraging for productivity and profit
  • Understanding financial indicators
  • Systems and risk management
  • People management
FLP14 - Family Dispute Resolution

This skills based subject aims to focus on the use of mediation and other forms of dispute resolution in family law matters including how parties may resolve their disputes on their own ("self-managing”) or with the assistance of a third party (sometimes generically described as the “third party neutral"). Learning methods will include role plays, simulations and other means of learning by doing. The skills will reflect the requirements of the Act, the Court Rules and the Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court.

  • The family law dispute resolution spectrum
  • The legislative framework
  • Understanding disputes
  • Less adversarial approaches: Magellan and less adversarial trials
  • Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Conciliation and arbitration
  • Communication skills
  • Issues of power and culture
  • Processes designed for family law: child inclusive mediation, Legal Aid conferences and collaborative law
  • Non-adversarial practice and family law: representing a client
FLP15 - Advocacy in Family Law

This subject focuses on developing and/or refreshing advocacy skills used in the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. The aim of this subject is to confer on students the skills necessary for preparing for, and conducting in court, family law matters which have reached the court-room stage, all in an ethical context and in accordance with the rules set by the Family Law Act and the rules of court.

  • Preparing a case for trial
  • Rules of evidence in family law matters
  • Oral evidence in chief
  • Cross-examination
  • Oral and written submissions
  • Appellate advocacy
  • Presenting an interlocutory application
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
  • Oral communication (e.g. client interview) assessment held through online conferencing
  • Reflective analysis of oral communication

* 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)