In 2017, at the direction of the federal government, the Australian Law Reform Commission began the arduous task of reviewing the family law system. The purpose of the review was to make necessary reforms to ensure the family law system meets the needs of the modern family.
The first sign of this reform is the Family Law Amendment (2018 Measures No. 1) Rules 2018 which introduces a number of significant procedural changes that came into effect from 1 March 2018. The intention of these reforms is the simplify some of the administrative procedures and to bring the Family Law Rules into line with recent changes to child support legislation.
The second reform includes the recent announcement that there are further major changes that will take effect from the beginning of 2019, including the merging of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia into the new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (“FCFCA”). The new Court will have two divisions. Also, a new Appeal division will be created in the Federal Court to hear family law appeals.
Notable changes to the first reforms include
- The requirement to file a Superannuation Information Form has been dispelled as long as you provide proof of the value of the superannuation interest, such as current member statement.
- Two new Notice of Risk forms. One is for the use in current cases and the other to be used with Applications for Consent Orders. The latter replaces the Annexure to Proposed Parenting Order.
- You must limit affidavits filed to ten pages and may no longer attach or annex documents that are to be used in conjunction with an affidavit to the affidavit. A hard copy of these documents must be served contemporaneously with the affidavit and then must be tendered in evidence only when required.
- The enactment of a new Submitting Notice provides where a party does not want to challenge the orders sought they may by this notice submit to any order the Court makes.
- The enactment of a new Notice of Contention provides that in appeals where the respondent does not wish to cross-appeal and seeks to have the Order affirmed on different grounds other than those relied on by the Court appealed from.
- There has also been a number of other procedural changes which reduces the paperwork that needs to be filed in various matters.
How do these changes affect you?
This amendment introduces a number of significant procedural changes which were designed to reduce the amount of paperwork and administrative process for you. The requirement to limit affidavit materials has already made a significant change. The parties costs are reduced and the Court no longer needs to review volumes of material to reach an idea about the main issues in dispute between the parties.
We are now waiting for more information about the second round of reforms.
If you require further information on the above or need any other advice in regards to Family Law, Please Contact Preston Law on 4052 0700.