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Domestic relationship law: An alternative, inclusive model of family law

Summerfield, T. (1999) Domestic relationship law: An alternative, inclusive model of family law. Sister in Law, 4 . pp. 47-80.


This article seeks to conceptualise a family law system, similar to that which already exists, but which applies to the full spectrum of domestic relationships in Australia. It is the premise of the article that the narrow jurisdiction of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (FLA) denies a comprehensive and specialised system of dispute resolution to alternative models of domestic relationship which, while dissimilar in form to the traditional family model, are similar in nature. Relationships which are not legitimised through legal marriage, such as heterosexual and homosexual de facto relationships, "marriages" sanctioned through alternative cultural or religious rituals, or long-term co-tenants (even if "familial" in nature, such as brother and sister), are restricted to the common law and/or civil law systems for dispute resolution. This is despite the fact that the arrangements made by families (in this wider sense) have more similarities to those of the traditional family model, than they do to commercial relationships.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Publisher: Enid Russell Society, School of Law, Murdoch University
Copyright: Enid Russell Society
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