On 4 May 2018, the SA Family Law Pathways Network held yet another ‘sold out’ Annual Forum at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. This Forum explored how emerging and growing areas and ideas in the family law space may affect organisations and practices in the family law sector both in South Australia and nationally.
The key note speaker, Dr Luke’s Gahan, provided the morning presentation, at which time he explored changing social attitudes and recent trends in same-sex divorce from countries where marriage equality has existed for some time. Luke shared the findings of his qualitative research undertaken with separated same-sex parents from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and regional Victoria. His findings unpacked these experiences of separation both before and after legal changes recognizing female non-biological parents and discussed parents’ experiences of shared care over two and sometimes three households. He also introduced us to multi-parent family households – those who create their family with more than two parents – and their subsequent unique experiences of separation and shared parenting. Dr Gahan also discussed his findings regarding same-sex parents’ experiences and perceptions of separation services and service providers, including legal professionals, family relationship centers, and mediation and counselling services.
Following this session, unfortunately, the speaker arranged to discuss Parenting Management Hearings was unable to attend the day. The speaker was expected to explain the Federal Government’s announcement of funding in the 2017 budget of $12.7 million over four years from 2017–18 to establish a pilot of Parenting Management Hearings (PMHs), a scheme proposed to be a ‘fast, informal, non-adversarial dispute resolution mechanism’. A Powerpoint was made available to delegates in respect of the scheme afterwards.
Accordingly, in the afternoon, presentations were heard from the facilitators of the Young Peoples Family Law Advisory Group ( YPFLAG) pilot project. In 2016, the SA Family Law Pathways Network set up a council of 10 young people between the ages of 12-17 , the YPFLAG, in which they provided feedback about their direct experiences of various stages of the family law system. Delegates heard an introduction about how the family law system can all learn the lessons from the feedback from this ‘ first of its kind’ group from South Australia.
All delegates at the forum were gifted a small plant from the SA Family Law Pathways Network for their attendance on the day . The SA Family Law Pathways appreciates the support of its Pathways members and all who attended the Forum.
We hope to see you in 2019.