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A pragmatic view

A pragmatic view

By Elena Tsalanidis

Child Support Child Welfare Family Court Parents 


The Victorian Court of Appeal recently considered whether someone can be a stepchild of their biological parent’s de facto partner. Snapshot Does the definition of "stepchild" in family provision legislation include a de facto stepchild? Is someone a stepchild of their biological parent’s de facto partner? The Supreme Court of Victoria heard a test case concerning amendments to the family provision legislation regarding the definition of “stepchild” in Scott-Mackenzie v Bail. The Court of Appeal found that “stepchild” clearly includes a de facto stepchild. This is reflective of the plain and ordinary meaning of the words in the context of the Act and the societal recognition of de facto partnerships as equal to marriage. On 10 May 2017, the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria delivered a decidedly modern joint judgment regarding the definition of “stepchild” for the purposes of the family provision legislation.1 Can someone be a stepchild of their biological parent’s de facto or domestic partner? The argument before the Court was whether a biological parent and step-parent must be married for the relationship of stepchild/step-parent to arise.2

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