Some exciting news was delivered in late September this year when the Attorney-General of Australia announced that over the next two years, there will be the first ever major review of the Family Law Act and the Family Law system more broadly. This announcement is long overdue and has been welcomed by the legal profession and the community.
The current law, the Family Law Act, was first introduced in the mid-1970’s, and since then the structure of families and the needs of families have evolved and changed greatly. The Family Law system however, has not.
The Family Law System has never undergone a complete review and many argue that the current system is outdated in today’s society. The current delay to achieve a resolution in a Family Law matter is significant and often takes years. This cannot be in the best interests of children or separating parents. In addition to this, the cost of being involved in Family Law proceedings is often a great burden on the ordinary Australian.
The review of the Family Law System will be in depth and complex, with multiple aspects of the system to be considered.
To name just a few of the significant aspects to be considered:
- The utmost importance of protecting children and their needs when families are separating.
- The best way to encourage the early resolution of family disputes at the earliest opportunity and in the least costly and harmful manner.
- The importance of community understanding and confidence in the Family Law System.
- Better collaboration between the Family Court, child protective services and family support services.
- Whether the adversarial nature of Family Law proceedings is an appropriate way to support safety in separating families and is in the best interests of the children.
Overall, it seems the review is aimed at improving the resolution of Family Law disputes quickly and safely while reducing the financial burden on separating families.
The report on the Review of the Family Law System is due to be released on 31 March 2019. At East Coast Family Lawyers, we will be eagerly awaiting the results of the review and hope that any changes to the Family Law System help our client’s to resolve their Family Law disputes quickly and effectively.