In yesterday's The Fiji Times we reported on Cabinet's approval of the Family Law Amendment Decree 2012 which will give similar legal rights to partners to a de facto relationship as are presently enjoyed under the Family Law Act by partners to a marriage. It has been pointed out to us that our story may be interpreted to mean that the existing Family Law Act will turn into the Family Law Amendment Decree 2012, when this is not the case. The Decree will in fact make amendments to the Family Law Act. The Act will remain in force as amended by the Decree.
Our story also repeated a phrase uttered at the government press conference which referred to the partners to a de facto relationship as "spouses" and which stated that before the Decree, when a de facto relationship ended, apart from child maintenance "one of the spouses would not have their entitlements that they would normally have". It has been clarified that "prior to the Family Law (Amendment) Decree 2012, neither individual in the de facto relationship ù neither the man nor the woman ù were accorded rights apart from child maintenance".