Course Title: Family law

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2014

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

Office:                                      Building 80 level 5

Consultation hours 10.00 - 12.00 Wednesdays

Not in at RMIT on Mondays

 

Teacher:                                  Tina Popa

Email:                                      tina.popa@rmit.edu.au

Consultation:                          By appointment

Teacher                                  Rick Norwood

Email:                                     rick.norwood@rmit.edu.au

Consultation:                         By appointment


    

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                  TopicLearning Activities
110 Feb

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

 

Review and understand blackboard

217 FebMarriages, getting married, relationship support services, counselling options where arriage/relationship is under stress

Text book chapter 3

Tutorial exercises, Discussion Board, Journal Entries

324 FebDivorce including development of Family Law Act and Family Court and assessment of jurisdiction of Family Court

Text book chapter 4

Tutorial exercises

 
403 MarchChildren

Text book chapter 5

Tutorial exercises, Discussion Board, Divorce assignment to be handed out - 20%, due week 7, Mini Quiz

510 March

Children

Text book chapter 5, tutorial exercises, discussion board

617 MarchChildren and the Independent Children’s Lawyer and Family Consultants

Class handout

Tutorial exercises

Mini Quiz

724 MarchSpousal mainitenance

 

Text book chapter 7

Tutorial exercises, Divorce assignent to be submitted - (20%)

Research Assignment to be distributed - 30% - children, due week 11

831 March

 

Distribution of matrimonial property

 

Text book chapter 8

Tutorial exerices

 9 07 AprilDistribution of matrimonial property

Text book chapter 8

Tutorial exercises

1014 April 
Financial disputes between de facto partners

Text book chapter 9

Tutorial exercises

 18 - 25 AprilMid Semester Break - No classes

 

1128 AprilChild Support

Text book chapter 6


Tutorial exercises

Research assignment to be submitted - 30% - children

1205 MayFamily Violence

Text book chapter 10

Class handout
Tutorial exercises

1312 May

Urgent Ex Parte Orders
 Child abuse

 Adoptions, Appeals

Text book chapter 10 

Tutorial exercises

Class handouts

1419 May

Revision, Practice questions, tests

Practice questions, tests solutions

1526 MayEND OF SEMESTER TEST (Topics 5 - 12) - 50%

End of semester test -(OPEN BOOK) - TOPICS 5 - 12 - 50%

1602 June

DEFERRED ASSESSMENTS, FEEDBACK

 


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Mills, E, Ebejer, M; Family Law, Butterworths (2012) 5th Edition (Available in the RMIT Bookshop)


References


Other Resources

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)

Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support Scheme - Initial Measures) Act 2006

Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support Scheme - New Formula and Other Measures) Act 2006


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. Divorce Assignment (20% of the final mark)

2. Research assignment: (30% of the final mark)

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

Description of Assessments

1. Divorce Assignment (20% of the final assessment)
This is a take home assignment based upon the topics of marriage, divorce and organizations available to assist relationships under stress.  It is to be submitted in week 7.


2. Research assignment: (30% of the final assessment)
This is a take home assessment task based upon the topic of children including the Independent Children’s lawyer. It is to be submitted in week 11.

3. End of semester test: (50% of the final assessment)
This will be an open book test conducted for full time students in Week 15. The topics to be covered in this test will be spousal maintenance, distribution of matrimonial property, financial disputes between de facto partners, child support, family violence, child abuse, urgent ex parte orders, adoption, appeals and organizations available to assist relationships under stress.
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.

.Identifying the key provisions and principles under lying the

Child Support Legislation 1988, 1989, 2006.
• 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 all 3 assessment tasks.
To pass this course students must attempt all 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                                                                                                 Divorce Assignment 20%Research assignment 30%Final Test 50%
1. Analyse the legal definition of marriage, legal requirements of parties within a marriage, and situations where a marriage is void x  
2. Analyse the development of the Family law Act and assess the jurisdiction of the Family Court x  
3. Identify the grounds upon which the Family Court of Australia will dissolve a marriage x  
4. Analyse the legal aspects of the care of children after parental separation  x 
5. Analyse and detail the provisions of the Family Law Act with reference to Spousal Maintenance   x
6. Analyse and assess the development of the law in relation to the paying of maintenance for children   x
7. Analyse the division of property under the Family Law Act   x
8. Analyse the constitutional and legislative provisions relating to domestic partnerships other than marriage   x
9. Assess the operation of the Family Law Act and Family Violence Protection Act in relation to the making of orders   x
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   x
11. Identify and evaluate of organisations that offer help to the parties in a relationship which is under stress x x 
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   x

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