Criminal Behaviours within Family Law Matters

Family Law Matters
25 Apr

Criminal Behaviours within Family Law Matters

Over the past few years, criminal law and family violence have increasingly interconnected with family law and child protection matters.  

At times family law matters, especially when involving children, can often reveal the complexities within a family, and therefore it is not uncommon for these complexities to also include some criminal elements which in family law can also be considered family violence.  It is important to understand that this does not necessarily mean that the criminal elements/family violence are due to the parties (the parents) directly it can also be from someone close to them such as a maternal or paternal grandparent.  

Understanding what is considered Criminal Elements/Family Violence 

Criminal BehaviorUnderstanding what is considered criminal elements or family violence is extremely important for families.  For instance, in family law family violence is not an argument that occurs occasionally, it is a constant pattern of abusive behavior perpetrated by one (or multiple) person/s towards another, often using multiple tactics. This is not just physical or sexual abuse.

Some of the following criminal behaviors are commonly seen in family law disputes are

  • Children being abused/neglected; 
  • Children being exposed to and or witnessing criminal behavior; 
  • A party experiencing emotional and economic abuse and coercive control; 
  • Sexual/criminal assaults;
  • Exposure to selling or the use of illicit drugs; 
  • Abuse of alcohol;
  • Threats to harm or kill;
  • Abducting a child (even if you are the parent); and
  • Breaches of Orders include family law orders and Temporary/Protection Orders. 

In Criminal and Family Law there are obvious overlaps within these criminal behaviors (in particular around Domestic Violence) however it is important to understand that serious criminal behaviors may fall well and truly in the jurisdiction of the police, and other State and Territory Courts and would need to be dealt with separately to your family law matter. 

In many cases, you may have concurrent proceedings in a State and Federal court/s regarding these matters, and it may be necessary for to appoint lawyers specializing in criminal/family law matters. 

Domestic Violence 

Domestic ViolenceThe most common interconnection between criminal law and family law is surrounding domestic violence.  In Australia, there has been a significant prevalence of family violence claims in post-separation parenting matters, and this has led to family violence being a substantial consideration in matters.  

The Family Violence Data Set from 2015/2016 reported that 76.12% of cases before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia involved allegations of family violence.1 It is common in family law matters once we see allegations of domestic violence, we then see other forms of criminal behaviours, and the biggest concern for us and the Courts is when there are children being exposed or subjected to these behaviours.

It is important that if you or your family can identify with some of the behaviors above that you look at seeking assistance. 

If you and or your children are experiencing family violence and would like to discuss your personal circumstance further, please do not hesitate to contact the Brisbane Family lawyers team at James Noble Law for a free, no-obligation 20-minute consultation. To schedule an appointment with one of our Qualified and experienced Family lawyers Brisbane.

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