What do they mean for my family law matter?
Currently, the Federal Circuit Court deals with the majority of family law matters however, more complex matters are heard by the Family Court. These may include cases involving a child welfare agency and/or allegations of abuse, family violence and/or mental health issues, multiple parties or expert witnesses, valuations of complex interests in trusts or corporate structures, complex questions of law and/or special jurisdictional issues.
In May 2018 the Attorney-General’s department announced that legislation will be introduced that combines the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia into a single court. The new structure will also see a new Family Law Appeal Division created. It is hoped that this will reduce pressure on judicial resources, decrease the lengthy wait times for family law matters and make it easier for litigants to navigate the system with only one set of rules, procedures and practices.
The legislation has not yet been passed but is likely to come into effect at the beginning of 2019. Consolidation of the court rules, forms and practice directions will occur slowly over the course of the year and should not affect matters already commenced.
We will continue to update you as the bill progresses through Parliament and the changes are implemented. In the meantime, contact WMD Law on (02) 9525 8688, for assistance in your Family Law Matter or to discuss these changes further