The date 1 September 2021 marked the beginning of the biggest change to the family law court system in many, many years. There has been a harmonisation of the two family law courts, being the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, to create one Court, called the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia ("FCFCOA").
The key features of the new Court structure are as follows:
A single point of entry for all family law matters, rather than choosing whether to file in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia
A new case management pathway:
Specialist lists for special issues in family law matters
Harmonised family law rules, rather than different Rules for different Courts
New directions on how a proceeding is to be conducted by a party
Focus on dispute resolution and an increase in the Court's internal dispute resolution in parenting and financial matters
Better child expert reporting processes
Appellate jurisdiction exercised as part of the FCFCOA rather than in a separate Appeal Division
Arising from the changes to the Court, is important for people dealing with family law issues to be aware of:
The need to engage in and complete dispute resolution before starting Court, and during the Court process
The Court's focus on identifying risk issues and family violence early in the proceedings
Greater focus on compliance with Court Directions and Orders
MCW Lawyers have a team of experienced and specialist family lawyers who can guide you through the appropriate steps to be taken in your family law matter, whether it be options for achieving agreement or engaging in the new Court process.