Law changes on breakfast menu

Pioneering women's lawyer Zoe Rathus will be guest speaker at the Family Law Pathways Network 2024 IWD Breakfast in Brisbane.

One of the country’s most prominent advocates for women in family law will unpack the impending changes to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) – on International Women’s Day (IWD).

Zoe Rathus will be guest speaker at the Family Law Pathways Network 2024 IWD Breakfast in Brisbane on Friday.

Zoe will discuss the significant reforms to come into effect on 6 May, which will change the decision-making framework in parenting cases.

She said it was good the presumption about equal shared parental responsibility was being repealed.

“It set up a situation in family law where people who had experienced violence and/or abuse in their relationships found it hard to resist arrangements where the children were required to spend lots of time with an unsafe or abusive parent,” she said.

She said the simpler set of best interests factors was also a positive.


“We had to get rid of the two tiers and the tension set up in the primary considerations – even with s 60CC(2A),” she said.

However, Zoe said it was difficult to know how the new Act would be interpreted because judges had lost the guideposts provided by s 65DAA(5).

“I did not like its link to the presumption but the reasonable practicability factors were useful if a court is considering equal or lots of time. They have gone,” she said.

Zoe is a senior lecturer at the Griffith University Law School. She has published and presented widely on women and the law, particularly the family law system and the impact of family violence on women and children. She was co-ordinator of the Women’s Legal Service from 1989 to 2004, and is a current member of the Queensland Law Society Domestic Violence Committee.

Zoe was awarded an Order of Australia in 2011 for her services to women, the law, indigenous peoples and education.

FLPN 2024 International Women’s Day Breakfast, Unpacking the Family Law Amendments, 8 March, 7.30am-9am, Mary Mae’s Bar & Kitchen, Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm. Tickets here.

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