As of 1 September 2021, the separate Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia have merged to become the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA). The fusion of the two courts aims to streamline processes for more efficient resolution of family law disputes and to reduce cost and delay to the parties involved.
Navigating the new structure
All family law matters will now be conducted by a singular court with a singular set of rules. The FCFCA will consist of two divisions, with the level of complexity ultimately dictating which division a matter will fall into.
Division 1 deals with complex family law matters and appeals from Division 2.
Division 2 is the gateway for all family law matters except for appeals. Matters deemed ‘complex’ will be diverted to Division 1. Matters heard in this Division also include federal law matters such as those relating to employment and immigration.
A comprehensive overview of this new structure can be explored on the Court’s new website https://www.fcfcoa.gov.au/innovations.
The new FCFCA will provide the following benefits:
- All family law matters have a single entry into the court system via Division 2. Previously parties had to decide whether to file in the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court with cost and delay sometimes suffered where a transfer to the other Court was later required.
- Streamlined processes as there is now one set of family law rules and forms for all matters.
- A greater focus on resolving family law matters through dispute resolution – for both parenting and financial matters.
- An improved child expert reporting process.
We welcome the merger and, like any event which requires an overhaul of an established system, we have prepared ourselves to adapt to the new procedures and minimise any teething issues which may arise from the structural reform.
How will this affect you?
New documentation and more stringent procedures are required by the FCFCA.
Proceedings commenced before 1 September 2021 will not need to re-do forms and should not be delayed to comply with rules that were not previously in place. Moving forward we will be using all of the new forms and ensuring efficient compliance with the new court rules.
If you have any questions about the new FCFCA, or are wondering how the merger of the two courts may affect your matter, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Family Lawyers on 9525 8688 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.