Article type: Original Research

PUBLISHED 1 January 1985

Volume 9 Issue 4

Why Two Jurisdictions? Some Aspects of the Historical Context of the Decision to Maintain Separate Courts for Married and Unmarried Parents in Relation to Parental Rights in Victoria

Stephanie Charlesworth


1 University of Melbourne

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Many professional people working with families are frustrated by the fact that there is still a marked differentiation made between children of married parents and children of non-married parents in the courts. This division has persisted in spite of legislation to remove the status of illegitimacy and the reasons for this are far from obvious to those who are not lawyers. This paper traces the historical background of this split in jurisdiction between State and Federal Courts (i.e., the Family Court) and concludes that it is based on an anachronistic view of State’s rights which no social group or political party would support today.

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