Wide-sweeping reform of the Family Court system came into effect yesterday and today.  Many key pieces of legislation have been amended, including those that relate to:

  • Care of children
  • Child support
  • Domestic Violence
  • Relationship property
  • Protection of personal and property rights
  • Proceedings in the Family Court

One of the most notable changes is the introduction of a new “Family Dispute Resolution” process (FDR).  FDR will be a required step in most cases concerning children where there is a dispute between guardians or where parenting orders are sought.

The goal of FDR is to help parents, guardians, or anyone else involved in a dispute regarding a child, to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of the child outside of Court.

It is not clear at this stage exactly what FDR will involve, although it will likely include a mediation type process.  Parties cannot bring their lawyers to FDR.

FDR will be funded by the government where a party qualifies.  If you do not qualify for government funding, you will need to meet your own FDR costs.

There is nothing to stop parties receiving legal advice outside of the FDR process or the Court process.

We will continue to keep you updated with relevant articles on the various changes.

If you would like to obtain further information about how these changes may effect your situation, please contact us on (04) 473 6850.