LAW 2512 - Family Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

The law of marriage, de facto relationships and divorce. The protection of children under the Family Law Act including parentage, parental responsibility, custody, and access. Matrimonial and defacto property rights, binding financial agreements, and spousal maintenance. Legal ethics in the practice of family law.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 2512
    Course Family Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Prerequisites LAW 1501
    Incompatible LAW 2015
    Assumed Knowledge LAW 1506
    Restrictions Available to LLB students only
    Course Description The law of marriage, de facto relationships and divorce. The protection of children under the Family Law Act including parentage, parental responsibility, custody, and access. Matrimonial and defacto property rights, binding financial agreements, and spousal maintenance. Legal ethics in the practice of family law.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mr Allan Perry

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Lectures are scheduled throughout the semester on Tuesday and Wednesday at 9.10am in Ligertwood 333 - Law Lecture Theatre 2.

    Weekly seminars are conducted and the course planner should be consulted to ascertain the specific times.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will:
    1. Have a good understanding of the main provisions of the Family Law Act;
    2. Be familiar with the structure of and sources of information within the family law administrative and court system;
    3. Understand the primary principles and policies that influence the development of family law;
    4. Be able to analyse fact scenarios to identify the relevant family law issues;
    5. Be able to critically analyse family law legislation and cases;
    6. Be able to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise materials so as to undertake advanced legal research;
    7. Understand the special ethical issues and responsibilities that arise in the practise of family law.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,2,4
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2,6
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3,7
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. ------
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 2,5,6
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 7
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 7
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 3,7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    1. Anthony Dickey, Family Law (6th ed, Thomson Reuters 2014) [available as either a printed text or an ebook].
    2. Lecture outlines, reading lists, and supplementary materials will be available either by purchase in hard copy from the Image and Copying Centre or available on MyUni
    3. Australian Family Law Act 1975
      The Family Law Act 1975 is available on-line (, however, it’s a voluminous Act and will be referred to throughout the course and students may find it more convenient if they have a bound printed copy of it. The latest consolidated version is published by CCH (32nd ed, 2013) and will be available for purchase from the Unibooks and other bookshops. Copies of the FLA can also be purchased from the Service SA Government Legislation Outlet, EDS Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide (opposite the Adelaide Convention Centre) (tel: 13 23 24).
    Recommended Resources
    1. M Livermore, The Family Law Handbook (2nd ed, RLCP 2010)
    2. T Altobelli, & I Serisier, Practising Family Law (3rd ed, LexisNexis 2011)
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, post additional lecture materials (including slides, and where available, audio recordings of lectures) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain electronic copies of the Course Profile, Lecture and Seminar Guides, and Course Materials.

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be taught through lectures supported by interactive problem-solving seminars and practical exercises.
    The lectures are designed to provide an overview of the principal areas of family law. The lectures will concentrate on providing an analysis of some of the more complex and unresolved issues arising in each of the primary areas. It is important that students read the required materials in advance of attending the  lecture on that topic. The lectures will also provide an introduction to the material covered in seminars. Lectures will be recorded.
    The seminars commence  with study tours of the Family Court. After the study tour program is completed  seminar classes will commence considering topics previously covered in the lectures. Each seminar will be organised around a fact problem and/or discussion topics. The seminars are intended to develop analytical problem solving skills, and an awareness of the ethical, social and cultural issues that arise in family law cases, while developing communication and practical skills. Seminar attendance is not compulsory but the seminars are an integral component of  learning in this course and attendance is strongly recommended.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Contact time: attend 2 hours lectures plus 1 hour seminar each week. This amounts to 36 hours of formal class time across the semester.

    Preparation time: In addition to attending formal classes it is anticipated that students will do substantial independent work to prepare for classes and to complete the course assignments. The University expects full time students (those undertaking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies.
    Learning Activities Summary




    Week 1


    Family Court of Australia Study Tours

    Week 2

    Historical Development

    Family Court of Australia Study Tours

    Week 3


    Family Court of Australia Study Tours

    Week 4

    De Facto Relationships

    Family Court of Australia Study Tours

    Week 5


    Ethics in Family Law 

    Week 6


    De Facto Relationships

    Week 7

    Determining Parentage


    Week 8

    Children Under the FLA

    Children Under the FLA

    Week 9

    Children Under the FLA

    Binding Financial Agreements

    Week 10

    Introduction to Matrimonial Property

    Preliminary Property Issues

    Week 11

    Distribution of Matrimonial Property

    Distribution of Matrimonial Property

    Week 12

    Matrimonial Property Ancilliary Issues

    Examination Revision

    There are no additional requirements for completion of this course other than those described elsewhere in this document.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Item % of final mark Due date
    Length Group or individual assessment Redeemable Learning Outcomes
    Research Paper 30% (optional & redeemable by examination) Topics available Week 1

    Due: 2pm, Tues 22nd April
    1500 words
      Individual   Yes 1- 10
    Examination 70-100% Exam Period

    21st June – 5th July
    2 hours duration (+ 10 minutes reading time)   Individual    No 1-10
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The research essay is optional and redeemable by the examination.
    Assessment Detail
    An optional essay weighted at 30% of the final course mark and is fully redeemable by the final examination. Details of the essay topics will be posted on MyUni during the 1st week of the semester. The essays will be assessed based on the quality and comprehensiveness of research; the quality of demonstrated understanding of the relevant principles and concepts; the construction of a concise and coherent presentation; a well balanced presentation of the relevant issues; and the development of a critical and evaluative perspective

    DUE DATE: Tuesday, 22nd April at 2.00pm

    The examination will consist of three questions only two of which must be answered and all are of equal weighting. Two of the questions will be problem style and the third will be essay style. The essay question will have an internal option of a choice of three essay topics only one of which may be answered. The exam will be of 2 hours duration (+ 10 minutes reading time).

    Students may take into the examination any written materials excluding items borrowed from a University Library and may also take in electronic language dictionaries with no remote capabilities.

    It is each student's responsibility to read the examination timetable. Misreading the timetable is not accepted as grounds for granting a supplementary exam. University staff are not permitted to provide examination times to students over the telephone or in response to personal enquiries.

    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    All assignments in this course are to be submitted in hard copy. All hardcopy submissions must be accompanied by the Assignment Cover Sheet that sets out the word length, and contains a signed declaration that the assignment consists of the students own work. A student’s results will be withheld until such time as the student has signed the Assignment Cover Sheet. Markers can refuse to accept assignments which do not have a signed acknowledgement of the University’s policy on plagiarism.

    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, The Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    Extensions: Requests for extensions must be made electronically and submitted to the Course Coordinator according to law school policy. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.


    1. Late Submission: Submission penalties of 5% (of the total mark of the assignment) each day (or part thereof) will be deducted for late submission (including weekends and public holidays), (ie, an essay graded 63% will have 5 % deducted if it is one day late, for a final mark of 58%, 10% if it is two days, etc).
    2. Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks available per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 1500, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 1501 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 1601 words long, etc). Words are calculated excluding all referencing footnotes and headings within the text and excluding cover page information.
    Turnaround time: The research paper will be returned to students within 4 weeks of the submission date with written individual feedback. Students will be notified by email when assignments are ready for collection from the Law School Front Office.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support

    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    Practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    For more information please check out the Writing Centre website at

  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Further information regarding the Law School Policies and Procedures in relation to Supplementary Assessment, Extensions, and Remarks etc can be found at:

    Plagiarism and other forms of cheating

    Plagiarism is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the Adelaide Law School Enrolment Guide 2014, and should note in particular the sections relating to plagiarism, grievance procedures and academic conduct within the Law School and the University.

    Plagiarism is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Please be aware that “academic dishonesty” (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to refuse to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.

  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.