Course Title: Family law

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2013

Course Code: LAW5191

Course Title: Family law

School: 650T TAFE Business

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact : Doug Gourlay

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925-5944

Course Contact Email:doug.gourlay@rmit.edu.au


Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Course Co-ordinator:            Andrew Webster
Email:                                      andrew.webster@rmit.edu.au
Work Phone:                          9925 5458
    

Nominal Hours: 51

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Pre-requisites:  VU20111 Legal Process

Course Description

To provide knowledge and skills in the field of Family Law and the related fields of de facto relationships, enforcement of Family Court orders and related matters as skills desirable for a person engaged in the operation of a legal office, citizen’s advise bureau or similar information service.


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20115 Family law


Learning Outcomes


Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

Learning Outcome 1 - Analyse the legal definition of marriage, legal requirements of parties within a marriage, and situations where a marriage is void.
Assessment criteria
1.1 Identify and define the conditions under which a marriage is considered valid under the law.
1.2 Analyse the law as it relates to the duties, rights and responsibilities of the parties to the marriage with reference to marriage as a contract, the obligation to maintain each other and the Common Law position.
1.3 Identify and analyse the situations in which a marriage is considered illegal, and the penalties should said marriage take place.
1.4 Discuss the legal implications of same sex unions, polygamous unions, sexual reassignment cases and monogamous unions.

Learning Outcome 2 - Analyse the development of the Family Law Act and assess the jurisdiction of the Family Court.
Assessment criteria
2.1 Analyse the main elements of the historical development of Divorce Law with reference to the Christian belief and the operation of the ecclesiastical courts.
2.2 Compare and contrast fault-based dissolution of marriage with no-fault dissolution
2.3 Analyse the development of the Family Law Act.
2.4 Identify the jurisdiction of the Family Court of Australia.
2.5 Assess the powers given to the Family Court by the Family Law Act to penalise those who do not comply with its orders.

Learning Outcome 3 - Identify the grounds upon which the Family Court of Australia will dissolve a marriage.
Assessment criteria
3.1 Determine the need to prove that there is a valid marriage for the court to have jurisdiction, with reference to:
• what constitutes jurisdiction
• what constitutes a valid marriage in Australia and overseas
• distinction between dissolution and annulment
• position of void marriages in Australia
3.2 Establish the requirements that must be satisfied before the court will grant a decree nisi for the dissolution of a marriage.
3.3 Identify the requirements that must be met for a decree nisi to become a decree absolute.

Learning Outcome 4 - Analyse the legal aspects of the care of children after parental separation.
Assessment criteria
4.1 Identify the range of children that fall within the jurisdiction of the Family Court.
4.2 Analyse and define the terms in the context of the Family Law Act.
4.3 Identify procedures required before a party may seek orders in relation to children.
4.4 Identify and analyse the main considerations exercised by the Family Court when making an order in relation to children.
4.5 Analyse the types of orders that the Family Court may make in relation to children.
4.6 Assess the situations in which the Family Court will vary orders relating to children.

Learning Outcome 5 - Analyse and detail the provisions of the Family Law Act with reference to Spousal Maintenance.
Assessment criteria
5.1 Identify the parties that are eligible to receive maintenance.
5.2 Identify and detail the prerequisites to the making of a maintenance order.
5.3 Assess the factors considered in the assessment of maintenance.
5.4 Evaluate the factors that may lead to termination or variation of a maintenance order.

Learning Outcome 6 - Analyse and assess the development of the law in relation to the paying of maintenance for children.
Assessment criteria
6.1 Analyse and evaluate the current child maintenance legislation.
6.2 Identify the range of children who are subject to the provisions of the Acts.
6.3 Analyse the method of calculation of the amount of child support to be paid.
6.4 Determine the provisions for deviations from the prescribed formula, giving relevant case study examples.
6.5 Assess the procedure for the enforcement of child support payments with reference to civil action and other action.
6.6 Evaluate and analyse the justice of the system from the point of view of the paying party, receiving party and child.

Learning Outcome 7 Analyse the division of property under the Family Law Act.
Assessment criteria
7.1 Identify who may apply for property orders under the Family Law Act
7.2 Determine property available for division
7.3 Assess and compare declarations of property rights and orders altering property rights
7.4 Analyse the criteria used by the court to determine property orders.
7.5 Analyse the property orders available to the court and the grounds for setting aside property orders.
7.6 Assess pre–action procedures in the court and consent orders as they relate to the division of property
7.7 Analyse the principles relating to financial agreements

Learning Outcome 8 - Analyse the constitutional and legislative provisions relating to domestic partnerships other than marriage.
Assessment criteria
8.1 Determine legislative provisions applicable to domestic relationships.
8.2 Assess the criteria for dividing property between parties to a domestic relationship to which the Family Law Act and the Relationships Act do not apply.

Learning Outcome 9 - Assess the operation of the Family Law Act and Family Violence Protection Act in relation to the making of orders.
Assessment criteria
9.1 Analyse the operation of the urgency provisions of the Family Law Act.
9.2 Assess the types of orders that the court might make.
9.3 Outline the area of operation of the Family Violence Protection Act.
9.4 Assess the protection given by the Family Violence Protection Act., with reference to:
• the parties to the relationship or other family members
• the property, both real and personal, of the parties
• the powers of members of the police force
• the powers of the court
9.5 Determine the consequences for a party in the event of breaching such an order and evaluate the effectiveness of these as a deterrent.
9.6 Analyse the circumstances in which a party may wish to proceed before the court on an ex-parte procedure.

Learning Outcome 10 - Evaluate the main provisions of the Adoption Act and identify the consequences for the parties involved in the event of an adoption order being made.
Assessment criteria
10.1 Assess the main provisions of the Adoption Act.
10.2 Identify the parties who may adopt and be adopted, and the parties who must give consent for an adoption to take place.
10.3 Identify the effect of an adoption order, including the consequences for the parties involved.
10.4 Analyse the process necessary for appeals against or revocation of an adoption order, citing relevant case study examples.
10.5 Evaluate the effectiveness of procedures to gain access to adoption records.

Learning Outcome 11 - Identify and evaluate of organisations that offer help to the parties in a relationship which is under stress.
Assessment criteria
11.1 Illustrate the main benefits that are available from Federal Government sources, and identify the parties that are eligible to receive them.
11.2 Evaluate the operations of a variety of counselling services.
11.3 Analyse the availability and operation of emergency accommodation, refuges and shelters.

Learning Outcome 12 - Analyse and evaluate the basis upon which an appeal may be made against the decision of a judge or magistrate, and the procedure required before the court on the hearing of an appeal.
Assessment criteria
12.1 Assess the basis for and prerequisite of an appeal to the Family Court from the decision of a Magistrate.
12.2 Determine the basis upon which a party may appeal against the decision of a Family Court judge.
12.3 Specify the procedure when making an appeal to the Full Family Court.
12.4 Analyse the basis on which appeals may be made to the High Court of Australia with reference to appeal or judicial review on a question of constitutionality and leave to appeal.


Details of Learning Activities

Students will study Family law and theory in class sessions and through prescribed exercises and assessment work. These concepts will also be explored through the investigation of appropriate real world and simulated environments.

Classes of 3 hours per week for 16 weeks as per the teaching schedule. The nominal hours associated with this are a guide only and represent the total teaching time and student effort required to successfully complete the course. This may include not only scheduled classes but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.
The week by week classes as per the teaching schedule below and assessments, including due dates, are subject to variation. Class teachers will to keep as close as practicable to that set out in this Part B Statement.

Course requirements: students consult timetable and are expected to attend all scheduled classes
Course support documents: see RMIT Blackboard
Student Induction: conducted prior to commencement of classes or during the first class and will cover the following: Blackboard, Overview of assessment requirements including Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers, Grading, Plagiarism, Appeals,Extensions,Feedback,Privacy, Submission requirements, Resubmission policy, Where to get support, Student responsibilities
 


Teaching Schedule

Week                 Date week begins                  Topic -Learning Activities
108 July

 • Introduction to the learning materials and outcomes in Family Law, including development of Family law Act and Family Court
• Getting Married

 

Text book chapter 3, & pages 81 - 96

Tutorial exercises

215 July• Marriages

Text book chapter 3

Tutorial exercises

322 July• Divorce including development of Family Law Act and Family Court and assessment of jurisdiction of Family Court

Text book chapter 4

Research assignment to be handed out - 20%

429 July• Children

Text book chapter 5

Tutorial exercises

505 August

• Children

 

612 August• Children and the Independent Children’s Lawyer and Family Consultants

Class handout

Tutorial exercises

Practice test/solutions

719 August

MID SEMESTER TEST

OPEN-BOOK TEST
Topics 1 to 4 - 30%

826 August

 

Spousal maintenance

 

Text book chapter 7 

Tutorial exerices

  

MID SEMESTER BREAK

 NO CLASSES

909 September 
• Property Disputes

Text book chapter 8

Tutorial exercises

Research assignment - 20% - to be submitted

1016 September• Property Disputes

Text book chapter 8


Tutorial exercises

1123 September• Financial Disputes between De Facto Partners

Text book chapter 9


Tutorial exercises

1230 September• Child Support, evaluation of organisations which help parties in a stressful relationship, appeals

Text book chapter 6

Class handout
Tutorial exercises

1307 October

• Urgent Ex Parte Orders
• Family Violence
• Child abuse

 Counselling services

Text book chapter 10 

Tutorial exercises

Class handout

1414 October

• Appeals

  Adoption

Class handout

Tutorial exercises

1521 October• Revision

Practice Test/solutions

1628 October

END OF SEMESTER TEST

End of Semester exam - OPEN BOOK
Topics 5 - 12 - 50%
174 November

 

• Deferred assessments, feedback
 

 

 

 

WeekTopicAssessment
0. 25th JuneIntroduction to the learning materials and to Family law Act and Family Court 
1. 2nd JulyGetting married, marriage 
3. 16th July Divorce, childrenResearch assignment to be handed out - topics 1 - 4 - 20%
6. 6th August Children, Indpendent Childrens lawyer Practice test
 8. 20 August Independent Childrens Lawyer, Spousal Maintenance Practice test solutions
 10. 10th Sep Mid semester Test

 Mid Semester Test - 30% - open book

Research assignment  - 20% - to be submitted

11. 17th Sept  
  12.24th Sept Distribution of matrimonial property, financial disputes between domestic partners 
  13. 1st Oct Child support, Family Violence, Child Abuse, ex parte orders, counselling services, appeals, adoption Practice test/solutions
  15. 8th Oct End of semester exam End of semester exam 50% - open book
  16.15th Oct Deferred assessments, feedback 


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Mills, E, Ebejer, M; Family Law, Butterworths (2010) (Available in the RMIT Bookshop building 108)


References


Other Resources

Marshall, J; Family Law, TAFE Frontiers (Chapters available on the Learning Hub)

Other Resources (available on the web for free)
Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
Adoption Act 1984 (Vic)
Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic)
Marriage Act 1961 (Cth)
Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth)
Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 (Cth)


Overview of Assessment

Assessment methods have been designed to measure achievement of the requirements in a flexible manner over a range of assessment tasks, for example:

• practical exercises
• case studies
• assignments
• projects
• tests and/or exams

Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant curriculum standards are being met.  Students will be provided with feedback throughout the course to check their progress.


Assessment Tasks

1. AsseMid semesterTest (30% of the final assessment)

2. Research assignment: (20% of the final assessment)

3. End of semester test:(50% of the final assessment)
.

 

Description of Assessments

1. AsseMid semester Test (30% of the final assessment)
This will be an open book test conducted in Week 7 under examination conditions.for full time students, and in week 10 for part time students


2. Research assignment: (20% of the final assessment)
This is a take home assessment task based upon the topics of divorce and children to be subitted by full time students in week 9 and part time students in week 10

3. End of semester test: (50% of the final assessment)
This will be an open book test conducted for full time students in Week 16 for full time students and in week 15 for part time students
Students must demonstrate an understanding of all elements of competency to be deemed competent.
 

A range of assessment methods are used to assess practical skills and knowledge, for example:
* tests and examinations in formal settings
* assignments, projects and case study analysis
* direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence
* review of authenticated documents from the workplace or training environment
* demonstration of techniques
* Class presentation

Assessment Grading
HD High Distinction 80-100
DI Distinction 70-79
CR Credit 60-69
PA Pass 50-59
NN Pass 0-49

Critical aspects of assessment
• Knowledge of Family Law and the related fields of de facto
relationships, and the enforcement of Family Law Court
orders
• Identifying the provisions of the Family Law in relation to
dissolving of a marriage, custody and guardianship of
children after parental separation, spousal maintenance and
children maintenance
• Identifying the property rights and orders under the Family
Act with regards to altering property rights and determining
the property order used by the Family Court
• Knowledge of constitutional and legislative provisions under
the domestic partnerships order than marriage
• Analysing the Family Violence Protection Act in relation to
protection given and the consequences of breaching the
order
• Evaluating the provisions of the Adoption Act and the
consequences for the parties involved in the event of an
adoption order
• Identifying the organisations which help parties in a
relationship under stress
• Determining the basis upon which an appeal may be made,
and identify the appeal procedures when making an appeal
to the Family Court

 

Assessment completion requirements

You are required to complete 3 assessment tasks.
To pass this course students must attempt assessments as required which are graded upon submission by the class assessor.
Grading is weighted so that a mark of 50% is a passing grade.

Assessment submission requirements

Assessment tasks need to be submitted via turnitin on Blackboard unless otherwise advised.

You should:

* Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date. If your performance in the assessment is affected by unexpected circumstances, you should consider applying for Special Consideration. Information on the process and application forms is available at http://rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=ls0ydfokry9rz website.
* Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks. (hard copy and soft copy)
* When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaration and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available on blackboard.
* Each page of your assessment should include footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment, unit code and title and page numbers. For example, Julie Macpherson, 324567, Task 2, OHS2345C Ensure safe workplace, Page 1 of 10.


Marking Guide

Further information regarding the application of the grading criteria will be provided by your teacher.
 


Assessment Matrix

Learning Outcome                                                                                                 Mid-semester test 30%Research assignment 20%Final Test 50%
1. Analyse the legal definition of marriage, legal requirements of parties within a marriage, and situations where a marriage is void   
2. Analyse the development of the Family law Act and assess the jurisdiction of the Family Court   
3. Identify the grounds upon which the Family Court of Australia will dissolve a marriage   
4. Analyse the legal aspects of the care of children after parental separation   
5. Analyse and detail the provisions of the Family Law Act with reference to Spousal Maintenance   
6. Analyse and assess the development of the law in relation to the paying of maintenance for children   
7. Analyse the division of property under the Family Law Act   
8. Analyse the constitutional and legislative provisions relating to domestic partnerships other than marriage   
9. Assess the operation of the Family Law Act and Family Violence Protection Act in relation to the making of orders   
10. Evaluate the main provisions of the Adoption Act and identify the consequences for the parties involved in the event of an adoption order being made   
11. Identify and evaluate of organisations that offer help to the parties in a relationship which is under stress   
12. Analyse and evaluate the basis upon which an appeal may be made against the decision of a judge or magistrate, and the procedure required before the court on the hearing of an appeal   

Other Information

You may apply for Special Consideration if you believe your academic performance has been severely affected by illness or another serious cause outside your control.
The RMIT Special consideration policy can be found at: http://www.rmit.edu.au/students/specialconsideration

Course Overview: Access Course Overview