The Minefield of Family Law

22 July 2010

While Family Law has undergone a welcome shift in the last 15 years, the transformation is far from complete, says Professor Patrick Parkinson, AM.

Speaking to the Law Society Journal of New South Wales following his Lecture, Family Law and the Indissolubility of Parenthood, as part of Sydney Law School's Distinguished Scholars Lecture Series, Professor Parkinson said that we must give up the idea that we can offer more than relatively short-term solutions for people in parenting disputes.

"Every agreement and consent order that lawyers make should havea dispute-resolution clause - what parents will do if there are further disputes - will they agree to go to a centre or a mediator or psychologist?

"Specifically how will things be handled without resort to courts?

"We have to get over our addiction to consent orders.

"Australian family lawyers sell a product and that is a consent order.

"We overrate the enforceability of parenting orders and underrate the benefit to parents of being able to reach agreement without court orders at all.

"In a great many cases, we need order and certainty, but we exaggerate the certainty that the court can provide - it is not proof against change of circumstances."

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

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