Course Title: Family law

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

Course Code: LAW5191

Course Title: Family law

School: 650T Vocational Business Education

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

Teacher:                                Alana Ryan

Email:                                     alana.ryan@rmit.edu.au

Work phone:                         99252000

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

You 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.

A range of learning experiences are planned for this course including class and online activities, group problem solving and group debates.  These will be delivered through classes of 2 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.

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
1 9 Feb

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

 

Text book chapter 3, & pages 81 - 96

Tutorial exercises

2 16 Feb• Marriages

Text book chapter 3

Tutorial exercises

3 23 Feb• 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%

4 2 Mar• Children

Text book chapter 5

Tutorial exercises

5 9 Mar

• Children

 

6 16 Mar• Children and the Independent Children’s Lawyer and Family Consultants, Parenting Plans

Class handout

Tutorial exercises

Children’s  assignment to be handed out - 35%
 

7 23 MarSpousal maintenance

Text book chapter 7

Research Assignment - 20% - to be submitted
 

8 30 Mar

 

Property disputes

 

Text book chapter 8 

Tutorial exerices

  

MID SEMESTER BREAK

 NO CLASSES

9 13 Apr 
• Property Disputes

Text book chapter 8

Tutorial exercises

 

10 20 Apr• De facto financial Disputes

Text book chapter 9


Tutorial exercises

11 25 Apr• Child support

Text book chapter 6


Tutorial exercises

12 4 May• Family Violence

Text book chapter 10

Class handout
Tutorial exercises

Children’s Assignment to be submitted - 35%

 

13 11 May

• Urgent Ex Parte Orders
• Child abuse

 Counselling services, organisations which support families under stress

Appeals

Text book chapter 10 

Tutorial exercises

Class handout

14 18 May

• Adoption

  Revision

Class handout

Practice test solutions

15 25 May• End of Semester Test

End of Semester exam - OPEN BOOK
Topics All learning outcomes - 45%

16 1 Jun

Deferred tests

 


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Mills, E, Ebejer, M; Family Law, Butterworths (2014) (Available in the RMIT Bookshop ed 6)


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)


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

To pass this course, you need to demonstrate you are competent to the industry standard as required of a paralegal. To achieve this, you must complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard.

You will be assessed against your skills and knowledge and will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you whether you have performed to industry standard or not and how well you are performing.

To demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes in this course the following evidence is essential:

• 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 Task 1 - Research Assignment (20% of the final assessment)

Due Date: Week 7
Submission Procedure: Hand in hard copy to teacher and submit via turnitin.
The assignment focuses on course material from week 1 to week 3. You will need to demonstrate your understanding of the development of the Family Law Act and the Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court, marriage law in Australia and the divorce process in Australian family law.

The task aligns with the following learning outcomes:
Learning Outcome 1 - Analyse the legal definition of marriage, legal requirements of parties within a marriage, and situations where a marriage is void.
Learning Outcome 2 - Analyse the development of the Family Law Act and assess the jurisdiction of the Family Court.
Learning Outcome 3 - Identify the grounds upon which the Family Court of Australia will dissolve a marriage.

 Assessment Task 2 - Children’s assignment (30% of the final assessment)
Due Date: Week 12
Submission Procedure: Hand in hard copy to teacher and submit via turnitin.
The task focusses on the topic of children and relevant dispute resolution services. You will need to demonstrate your understanding of the care of children after parental separation and any relevant dispute resolution services that can be utilised in this area of law.

The task aligns with the following learning outcomes:
Learning Outcome 4 - Analyse the legal aspects of the care of children after parental separation.
Learning Outcome 11 - Identify and evaluate of organisations that offer help to the parties in a relationship which is under stress.

Assessment Task 3 -End of semester test: (50% of the final assessment)
Due Date: Week 15
Submission Procedure: In class supervised open book test
The task will comprise of a two hour open book test. You will need to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of spousal maintenance, financial disputes between spouses, family law in relation to de facto couples, child support, family violence, urgent ex parte orders, child abuse, appeals, counselling and dispute resolution services, adoption.

The task will incorporate the following learning outcomes:
Learning Outcome 5 - Analyse and detail the provisions of the Family Law Act with reference to Spousal Maintenance.
Learning Outcome 6 - Analyse and assess the development of the law in relation to the paying of maintenance for children.
Learning Outcome 7 Analyse the division of property under the Family Law Act.
Learning Outcome 8 - Analyse the constitutional and legislative provisions relating to domestic partnerships other than marriage.
Learning Outcome 9 - Assess the operation of the Family Law Act and Family Violence Protection Act in relation to the making of orders.
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.
Learning Outcome 11 - Identify and evaluate of organisations that offer help to the parties in a relationship which is under stress.
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.

Feedback
Feedback will be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions. You are encouraged to ask and answer questions during class time and online sessions so that you can obtain feedback on your understanding of the concepts and issues being discussed. Finally, you can email or arrange an appointment with your teacher to gain more feedback on your progress.

You should take note of all feedback received and use this information to improve your learning outcomes and final performance in the course.

Academic Policies and Procedures
I
nformation regarding RMIT policies and procedures related to assessment can be found in the booklet “Student Information Guide” provided to you at the time of your enrolment or from the RMIT website.
Where matters beyond your control interfere with the completion of assessment components, you may seek special consideration. Information about this is available here:
http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=g43abm17hc9w
You should note that the special consideration policy distinguishes between tests and exams (see section 5.5 of your Student Information Guide) or the RMIT website.


Assessment Matrix

Grades received throughout semester are only indicative of your performance. These grades will only contribute to your final grade if you complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN. If students fail to submit one or more pieces of assessment, the maximum grade available is DNS.

Please refer to the Final Grades table below:

80-100HDHigh Distinction
70-79DIDistinction
60-69CRCredit
50-59PAPass
0-49NNFail
DNSDNSDid Not Submit Assessement

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

Other Information

Submission Requirements
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 extensions of time. (Please refer to the information in the Late Submission Procedure section below)
• If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program manager or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
• 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 a footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment,
unit code and title and page numbers.

Reassessment Policy
Students who achieve an indicative grade of greater than 50%, yet have not demonstrated competency across all learning outcomes will be given the opportunity to undertake an oral questioning with the assessor in which they will be required to demonstrate competence in the elements or learning outcomes not yet demonstrated. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN or Not Yet Competent.

Late Submission Procedures
If you are prevented from submitting an assessment on time, by circumstances outside your control, you must apply in advance for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days.
More Information: http://www.rmit.edu.au/students/assessment/extension
Form to use: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/seca86tti4g4z.pdf

Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination.
More Information: http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=g43abm17hc9w
Form to use: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/8a5dgcaqvaes1.pdf

Reassessment policy
Students who achieve an indicative grade of greater than 50%, yet have not demonstrated competency across all learning outcomes will be given the opportunity to undertake an oral questioning with the assessor in which they will be required to demonstrate competence in the elements or learning outcomes not yet demonstrated. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN or Not Yet Competent.

Adjustments to Assessment
In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment. For more information about the circumstances under which the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:
More Information: http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=kehn9bz22r41

 Plagiarism
Plagiarism is defined as stealing somebody’s intellectual property (IP) by presenting their work, thoughts or ideas as though they are your own. It is a serious academic offence and can lead to expulsion from RMIT. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data, and oral presentations. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited.

Examples of plagiarism include:
•Copying sentences or paragraphs word-for-word from one or more sources, whether published or unpublished, which could include but is not limited to books, journals, reports, theses, websites, conference papers, course notes, etc. without proper citation.
• Closely paraphrasing sentences, paragraphs, ideas or themes without proper citation;
•Piecing together text from one or more sources and adding only linking sentences;
• Copying or submitting whole or parts of computer files without acknowledging their source;
• Copying designs or works of art and submitting them as your original work;
• Copying a whole or any part of another student’s work;
•Submitting work as your own that someone else has done for you; and
• Enabling plagiarism: the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work.

Further information on academic integrity: http://www.rmit.edu.au/academicintegrity

Course Overview: Access Course Overview