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The new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA)

The Australian Law Reform Commission report, Family Law for the Future: An Inquiry into the Family Law System was tabled in Parliament back in 2019. It contained 60 recommendations designed to improve the process and reduce the financial burden associated with filing matters in the Family Court of Australia.

On 1 September 2021, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia commenced operations. It combines the previous Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia. It’s innovative, effective and the biggest change to resolving Family Law disputes in Australia in nearly 50 years. You can check out the changes right here at this video guiding you through the new Court structure https://youtu.be/cUr1kHrfGu8

The Court embraces innovation in achieving its goals of much more streamlined, effective and efficient resolution of post separation parenting and property settlement disputes. The Court has some changes to process and procedure and a greater focus on matters being resolved quickly without the bitterness of protracted litigation.

There is a focus on dispute resolution to avoid the emotional distress, delay and cost of engaging in litigation and continuing in litigation. Filing in the Court is a step of last resort.

There is a lot of helpful information about the new Court, including video resources for clients and practitioners. Check it out at www.fcfcoa.gov.au/fl

You can find tips to “Separate Smarter” where the Court informs clients and practitioners, “Where it is safe to do so, you can take ownership of your dispute. Whether you agree, partially agree or don’t agree at all. You can mediate at any stage, as many times as you need. It is time we started thinking differently about family law disputes.” Check it out at the Separate smarter video resource at https://youtu.be/eZcG3vcEeGw

Sound great, right? Are you ready for an appearance in the FCFOA? What has changed and what do you need to know about if you are appearing in the Court, either in person or remotely by videoconference? Check it out at this video “What to expect when attending a Court Hearing” https://youtu.be/pwPNayePckQ

The Court is aiming to resolve 90% of Family Law disputes within 12 months, representing a generational change in a system that was overstretched and under-resourced. It’s a transformative and exciting time in Family Law practice in Australia right now, so watch this space.

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