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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture 

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Importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture

The Family Law Act recognises the importance of children maintaining a connection with their Indigenous culture following family breakdown.

According to the Family Law Act, it is in the child’s best interests to maintain a connection with their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and have the support, opportunity and encouragement to:

  • Explore the full extent of that culture, and
  • Develop a positive appreciation of that culture.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and parenting orders

When making a parenting order, the court must look at the impact the order would have on the child’s right to enjoy his or her Indigenous culture.

When deciding what is best for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the court will look at:

  • The lifestyle, culture and traditions of the children and their parents.
  • The rights of a child to enjoy his or her culture, including the right to enjoy that culture with other people who share that culture.
  • Any kinship relationships that may impact the child.
  • The child-rearing practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Indigenous adviser

The court may appoint a person who understands Indigenous culture to help the court make the best arrangements for Indigenous children. This person is known as an Indigenous adviser.

The role of the Indigenous adviser is to help the court understand the relevant cultural issues so the court can provide a culturally appropriate service. They make sure:

  • The court process is not culturally biased.
  • The Indigenous party (or parties) has an opportunity to present their views, and
  • The court process is sensitive to and responsive to Indigenous needs.

It is not the role of the Indigenous adviser to directly represent the Indigenous party or to translate.

An Indigenous adviser may be appointed when the parties see a family consultant, a registrar or a judicial officer.

Indigenous interpreter

If an Indigenous person is having difficulty understanding the court staff or communicating in English, the court can arrange an Indigenous interpreter to assist. For more information, contact the Family Law Courts.

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Do I need legal advice?

You may need legal advice if

  • you have a family law dispute that you cannot resolve without family dispute resolution, mediation or court
  • there has been family violence or abuse.
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Where can I get legal advice

Legal Aid Queensland may provide legal advice on family law disputes.

The following organisations may also be able to give legal advice on your matter.

Community legal centres give legal advice on a range of topics. Contact them to see if they can help with your matter.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) may be able to provide legal representation and advice on family law matters to Indigenous people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Legal Service NQ may be able to provide legal advice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women about family law matters.

Women's Legal Service provide free legal advice to women on areas of law including domestic violence and family law.

Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor for advice or representation.

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Who else can help?

These organisations may also be able to assist with your matter. They do not provide legal advice.

Family Relationship Advice Line provides information about the family law system in Australia.

Family Relationship Centres provide information, referrals, dispute resolution and advice on parenting after separation. Some Family Relationships Centres have Indigenous staff who can offer assistance.

Family Law Courts deals with family law cases. Court forms and information on family court processes are accessible from their website.

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Disclaimer - Copyright © 1997 Legal Aid Queensland. This content is provided as an information source only and is not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should seek legal advice from a lawyer. Legal Aid Queensland believes the information is accurate as at 4 April 2013 but accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions and denies all liability for any expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur due to the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way.

Last modified: 16 June 2015 10:19AM
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture