My Journal week 4:
Seminar 4 was all about legitimacy and parenting. Many people including myself mostly misinterpret these two factors, and in this seminar, I was able to learn their relevance in family law. However, there are some aspects that I am yet to understand or come to terms with them. We know that the common law in the past did not recognize children born out of wedlock as legitimate. Instead, it considered those children conceived within marriage as legitimate. What this meant is that there were some legal consequences of being an illegitimate child. But whose fault is it? The child or the parents. The Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) S89 discusses the legitimacy of children by marriage of parents. This means that one has the right to be a parent to a child whom he has not fathered as long as he/she has married one of the biological parents of the child. But my argument was what if the child does not want to be a part of that marriage or does not want anyone else to be or act as his/her biological parents. As the child committed an offence? Do the new parents have the rights to oppose the childs decision? What freedom does the child have? These are the questions that kept running through my mind. But the information about parentage shaded the light and allowed me to understand that a person does not surely have to be the biological parent to earn the rights to parenting. This is because a parent is a caregiver for a child. However, it is necessary to know that there are some family law consequences of being a parent which include: parental responsibility, child support responsibility among others (Dempsey Daniels, 2004).
The issue of surrogacy is also another interesting topic that I learned in this seminar. The Surrogacy Act 2008 (WA) explains that the court may make and discharge a parental order. This means that a person is deemed to be parent where parental status has been conferred under State surrogacy law. I was not surprised to learn that a sperm donor is not a legal parent and is not liable to pay child support however in events where a man decides to father a child with a woman by sexual intercourse that man is liable as a parent to pay child support. In conclusion, this seminar opened my eyes and taught me key issues about legitimacy and parentage especially in cases involving surrogacy.
My Journal week 5:
Week 5 was all about studying the case scenario of Brad and Lucy. These two were couples and had two children a boy and a girl until they separated in 2014. Lucy is said to have obtained interim orders in the Family Court of Western Australia that allows her to have the parental responsibility for the children. However, Brad wants to ensure that any final verdicts made will provide him equal parental responsibility for his children. We realize that Lucy wants to be given sole responsibility for making decisions about her childrens health and education. I believe this is not going to be possible this is because according to the provisions of the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) that apply to children whose parents are not legally married, children are supposed to have the benefit of both their parents. Moreover, these provisions seek to ensure that children receive proper and adequate parenting to assist them to attain their full capabilities. In events where Lucy is given sole responsibility to take care of the children, there are high chances that these children are likely to receive inadequate parenting. This is because they would miss a father figure. I dont consider Alan as the father of Brads kids since he is just Lucys partner and there are no significant associations between him and Brads kids, i.e., He is not legally married to Lucy. To be fair, Brad deserves to have more time with his kids. Since the principles and objects of Part VII of the Family Law Act (1975) explain that children have the freedom to spend time on a regular basis with both their parents and other individuals important to their welfare, care, and development (Field Richards, 2015). It also adds that parents should collectively share responsibilities and duties concerning the development, welfare, and care of their children. Following this information, I tend to believe that Lucys demands of obtaining sole responsibility for the children is incorrect and should be refuted.
My journal week 6
This seminar was about family violence and abuse. Family violence is a violent behavior by a person that causes the family member to be fearful. In most cases, it negatively affects the welfare of the children. It is closely related to abuse since they both cause extreme psychological harm to people. I like the fact that the courts understand the relationship between family violence and breakdown, and the detrimental effects on both children and adult victims living with family violence. Ensuring the safety of family members, and especially children, from the impacts of family violence should be a priority for the courts (Burton Frances, 2015). I am glad that the Family Law Act contains an extensive distribution of provisions developed to secure children and parties from family violence. Nowadays the court evaluates the person the child lives with, communicates with, and spends time with before making a parenting order. In events where it is determined that it is not in the best interests of the child, one is denied the opportunity to take care of that child. Cases of child abuse and family violence are common aspects that are normally considered when making this kind of decisions. Section 60CC of the Family Law Act enables the court to take into consideration the opinions/views of the child and most importantly to examine the relationship between the child and each of the parents before making a parenting order (Lusink Margaret, 2005). We also learned that the court seeks to protect children from family violence and harm by ensuring that both parents have responsibilities and duties about their children. However, in my opinion, this kind of safety measure does not protect or secure a child from family violence and abuse. This is because this process enables both parents to only make major decisions about their childrens welfare such as education, religious, and educational matters but does not include daily decisions such as what the children will wear or eat. I tend to think that the best way to protect children from family violence and abuse is by assessing their views and attitudes and making them known to the courts. Courts are then required to consider them before making a parenting order.
Burton Frances, Family Law Act 1996 (1996 c. 27) (2015) Core Statutes on Family Law, 189-214.
Dempsey Daniels, Donor, Father or Parent? Conceiving Paternity in the Australian Family Court (2004) International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 18.
Field Richards, Crowe Jennifer, the Construction of Rationality in Australian Family Dispute Resolution: A Feminist Analysis (2015) Australian Feminist Law Journal, 27(1), 97-122.
Lusink Margaret, The Family Law Act 1975-77-Australia (2005) Family Court Review, 16(1), 39-44.
Masson Davids, Parentage, Infancy, and Childhood (2007) De Quincey, 1-15.
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