In Family law, matters are dealt by both the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court. For families going through disputes that require adjudication by the court, it is hard to know where exactly to begin, and the different rules and procedures that must be followed when initiating a case.
The Family Court assists Australians by determining their most complex family matters including parenting cases involving children and financial cases that involve complicated financial arrangements. The Federal Circuit Court resolves less complex Family Law cases in order to reduce the backlog of the Family Court.
On 17 February the Government passed the Federal Circuit and Family Court Bill, which intends to amalgamate the two courts into the new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA).
The FCFCA is made up of two divisions:
– The family Court of Australia is now the FCFCA (Division 1) and will hear complex family laws matters; and
– The Federal Circuit Court is now the FCFCA (Division 2) and will hear less complex family law matters and general federal matters.
So, what does this mean for Australian Families?
Going to Court can be an extremely stressful time, particularly in family matters where emotions are at their highest. The FCFCA reforms intend to reduce the pressure placed on Australian families when navigating the court system by providing a single point of entry, ultimately removing the uncertainty caused by the overlapping of the two Courts and disparities in the rules and procedures.