What do the recent changes in family law mean for families?

What changed:

As of 1 September 2021, The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia will merge to become the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA).

The recent merger has brought about some changes for new applications for parenting, property and child support.

The merger has had a focus on:

  1. Reducing unnecessary costs and delays in family litigation and facilitates proceedings being conducted with the least possible acrimony in order to minimise harm to children and families;
  2. Ensures the safety of families and children; and
  3. Achieves the overarching purpose is to facilitate the just resolution of disputes according to law and as quickly, inexpensively and efficiently as possible.

What this means for new applications there is a greater focus on trying to resolve the matter prior to court and once the matter is before the court there is an expectation that parties should be at mediation or dispute resolution within six months of filing. Trials are to commence where possible within 12 months of filing if necessary, with a hope to reduce up to 90% of cases within the system.

This is good news for those who have been experiencing long delays in the progress and settlement of their family law matters.

Parenting Applications

Family Court merger for Parenting Agreements

Family Court merger for Parenting AgreementsThe following documents must be filed with an Initiating Application (Family Law) in parenting proceedings:

  1. A 60I certificate from a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, unless a party submits that an exemption applies, in which case an affidavit or an Affidavit – Non-Filing of Family Dispute Resolution Certificate setting out the factual basis of the exception claimed under;
  2. A Genuine Steps Certificate, confirming the applicant’s compliance with the pre-action procedures;
  3. A Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk;
  4. A Parenting Questionnaire;
  5. An Undertaking as to Disclosure;
  6. A copy of any family violence order affecting the child or a member of the child’s family; and;
  7. If the application seeks interlocutory orders, an affidavit stating the facts relied on in support of the interlocutory orders is sought.

The new steps here are the requirement to file a Genuine Steps Certificate, Parenting Questionnaire and Undertaking as to Disclosure.

Learn the things you need to do before applying for parenting orders.

Property Applications

Property Agreements under new Family Court structure in Australia

Property Agreements under new Family Court structure. The following documents must be filed with an Initiating Application (Family Law) in financial proceedings:

  1. A Genuine Steps Certificate, confirming the applicant’s compliance with the pre-action procedures;
  2. A Financial Statement;
  3. A Financial Questionnaire;
  4. A copy of any family violence order affecting the party;
  5. An Undertaking as to Disclosure in accordance with rule 6.02 of the Family Law Rules;
  6. If the applicant is aware that the Financial Statement will not fully discharge the duty to make full and frank disclosure, an affidavit providing further particulars;
  7. If the application seeks interlocutory orders, an affidavit stating the facts relied on in support of the interlocutory orders sought;
  8. If the application seeks a search order, an affidavit that includes the required evidence; and;
  9. If the application seeks a freezing order, an affidavit that includes the required evidence.

The new steps here are the requirement to file a Genuine Steps Certificate, Financial Questionnaire; Undertaking as to Disclosure and affidavit providing further particulars in the event the Financial Statement will not provide a complete picture of their financial position.

Read more details about Financial Agreements and Disclosure.

Author:

Picture of Christian Bolog

Christian Bolog

Director | Head of Commercial Law

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