2017 Budget announcements that affect the family law system

Posted on May 11th, 2017

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The Federal Government has made a number of announcements that will affect the family law system in the 2017 budget. Regrettably, these do not include the substantial funding boost that the system needs to remedy the long delays being experienced by litigants in the Courts.

The announcements include:

  • $10.7 million allocation to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia and the Family Court of Western Australia, to engage more family consultants to help the courts deal with cases involving vulnerable families. This is a thumbs up.
  • $12.7 million to establish parenting management hearings-  a forum to resolve family law disputes between self-represented litigants and which are designed to be a fast, informal, non-adversarial dispute resolution mechanism. The devil may be in the detail, and more information will be needed before further comment. It is unlikely to impact on those families using the Newcastle Registry

  • Six new specialist domestic violence units are to be set up over two years at a cost of $3.4 million.
  • A comprehensive review of the family law system by the Australian Law Reform Commission to identify reforms needed to ensure that the family law system meets the contemporary needs of families and addresses family violence and child abuse. This is the first time a review of the family law system has occurred since the Family Law Act commenced.  The Commission is to report by the end of 2018.
  • Proposed amendments after consultation to ensure that victims of family violence are not put in a position where they are cross-examined by alleged perpetrators.

Mark Sullivan Senior Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors NewcastleMark Sullivan is a Director at Mullane & Lindsay, and practises extensively in Family, Relationship and Matrimonial Law. If you require any assistance in this area please contact Mark Sullivan to arrange a consultation or contact our Newcastle office.

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