Fam­i­ly Law | What the Fam­i­ly Court merg­er means for sep­a­rat­ing couples

Fam­i­lies going through sep­a­ra­tion may be aware of recent news announce­ments about changes to the Fam­i­ly Court sys­tem and the like­ly impact this will have on par­ents and children.

The Fam­i­ly Court of Aus­tralia and the Fed­er­al Cir­cuit Court of Aus­tralia have issued a joint state­ment about the merg­er of the two courts, which will be known as the FCF­CA. The merg­er, result­ing from new Com­mon­wealth leg­is­la­tion, has been addressed in numer­ous media reports, and on social media. 

The Chief Jus­tice of the Fam­i­ly Court of Aus­tralia said the FCF­CA would con­tin­ue to seek resources from the Gov­ern­ment to help reduce back­logs and delay. 

In sum­ma­ry:

  • Aus­trali­a’s courts deal­ing with divorce, prop­er­ty divi­sion and par­ent­ing issues will be amalgamated.
  • The new super-court will be called the Fed­er­al Cir­cuit and Fam­i­ly Court of Aus­tralia (FCF­CA).
  • There will be one sin­gle entry point to the FCF­CA instead of two.
  • The FCF­CA is cur­rent­ly work­ing on a con­sis­tent set of forms, rules and case man­age­ment approaches.
  • The FCF­CA is expect­ed to have reg­istries in each cap­i­tal city as well as region­al cen­tres includ­ing New­cas­tle and Wollongong.
  • The FCF­CA will have a statu­to­ry oblig­a­tion to recog­nise the need to pro­tect the rights of chil­dren, pro­mote their wel­fare and pro­tect them from fam­i­ly violence.

Cur­rent­ly the Fam­i­ly Court has 33 spe­cial­ist fam­i­ly law Judges. The Fed­er­al Cir­cuit Court has 40 judges who deal exclu­sive­ly with fam­i­ly law matters. 

The Fed­er­al Cir­cuit Court deals with approx­i­mate­ly 90% of all Fam­i­ly Law cas­es filed, in addi­tion to oth­er types of mat­ters includ­ing immi­gra­tion and taxation.