NEWS: Government Announces Changes to the Family Court
There has been a lot of news articles and media excitement of late regarding the Federal Governments recently proposing changes to the Family Law Courts. So, what is actually going on?
On 30 May, the Attorney-General’s department announced that the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia will be combined to become a new “Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia”. The court will have two divisions, division one comprising of the existing Judges in the Family Court and division two comprising of the existing Judges in the Federal Circuit Court.
The new structure will also see the abolishing of the current appeals court, the Full Court of the Family Court, and instead any appeals from the new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia will be heard in a new Family Law Appeal Division in the Federal Court. The government’s view is that this change will assist in having matters determined more quickly as judicial resources currently used to hear appeals become available.
The Family Court of Western Australia will remain unchanged, except that any appeal from the Family Court of Western Australia will now be directed to the new Family Law Division of the Federal Court.
The legislation is still to be put before the Parliament. The government expects to introduce the legislation in September, in the spring sittings of the Parliament. If the legislation is passed by the Senate, the new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia will commence from 1 January 2019.
The courts will initially retain their respective court rules and forms, with a view to consolidating the rules, forms and practice directions after consultation with judiciary, legal profession and other stakeholders.
If you are going through a family law matter or are concerned about how this change can affect you call us today to discuss these changes on (07) 3221 4300 for a fixed-fee no obligation initial consultation.