The Federal Government wants instances of family violence to be given greater consideration in property settlements between separating couples, to better recognise the ongoing financial impact of abuse.
Family violence has been a factor for courts in ruling on the division of assets in the past, but it has never been explicitly included in the Family Law Act.
That has led to concerns about how the principles are applied, and whether there is inconsistency across the country based of different interpretations of previous court judgements.
Lawyer and domestic and family violence prevention advocate Angela Lynch described it as an important change.
“Women’s groups and domestic violence groups have called for these changes over decades because what they have seen is the enormous impact that family violence has on the financial and economic outcomes for women after they separate from violent marriages and relationships,” she said.