Family Law Changes in 2018

2018 proved to be a big year for family law in Australia, with numerous changes made to legislation.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss these changes and what they mean for you.

Family Law Amendment (2018 Measures No. 1) Rules 2018: Procedural Changes

The Family Law Amendment (2018 Measures No.1) Rules 2018 introduced a number of significant procedural changes that came into effect as of 1 March 2018.

As a result of the change, a number of new forms were created, and many amendments occurred to existing forms. You can see the full breakdown of these procedural changes here.

Overall, these changes are designed to reduce the paperwork required by the court and create a reduction in paperwork for all matters.

As well as creating a more efficient legal process, it is hoped that the changes will ultimately result in a reduction in the cost of legal fees in the long term due to the reduced administrational work required.

Some of the key changes with respect to Application for Consent Orders included:

  • Orders relating to Superannuation Interests:

The amendment repeals the requirement to file a completed superannuation information form and substitute a requirement to file proof of value of the interest.

  • Risk of abuse or family violence:
  • The amendments require that the Application for Consent Orders must certify whether the child concerned has been abused or is a risk of being abuse;
  • The Application for Consent Orders must explain how the orders deal with any allegations;
  • The Amendments prescribe a Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence (Application for Consent Orders) be filed with an Application for Consent Orders.
  • Filing a copy of a Family Violence Order
  • A copy of the Family Violence Order must be filed in addition to the Application for Consent Orders, if applicable.

Increase to Family Law Court Fees – July 2018

From the 1st July 2018, the fees payable in the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court changed.

You can see the full list of price changes here, including the old and new fees.

For example, an application for Consent Orders used to be $160, but it has now increased to $165.

eFiling Enhancements – November 2018

Practitioners and self-represented litigants saw new and improved eFiling as the Commonwealth Courts Portal went live.

The new ‘unguided process’ helps to save time, allowing precedent forms to be uploaded in the Portal as PDFs with minimal data input required.

In addition, a greater number of forms can now be filed electronically, reducing the need for practitioners to queue and file at registry.

All of these changes are aimed at helping to improve the efficiency of the family courts.

If you have a question about how family law works, are unsure how to deal with a matter or are considering taking a matter to court, then please contact us on 07 3837 5500 or email.