Review of the Family Law Act

 Monday, June 18, 2018

Review of the Family Law System

The Federal government has commissioned the ALRC to undertake the first comprehensive review of the family law system since the commencement of the Family Law Act in 1975.

Purpose of the Review

The review will focus on supporting families to resolve their family law disputes quickly and safely by considering:

  • “appropriate early and cost-effective resolution of all family law disputes;
  • the protection of the best interests of children and their safety;
  • the best ways to inform decision makers about the best interests of children and their views;
  • family violence and child abuse, including protection for vulnerable witnesses;
  • laws in relation to parenting and property division after separation.”

Why is the review important?

Notably the review represents the first comprehensive review into the family law system since the commencement of the Act in 1976. This means that even though there have been widespread changes in Australia, both socially and to the needs of families, the family law system has not kept up with those changes.

The current system has been criticised as being:

  • costly;
  • harmful to the dignity and privacy of separating families;
  • inefficient;
  • ineffective in dealing with safety issues and interacting with other services and Courts; and
  • Adversarial in nature and providing an appropriate dispute resolution and adjudication process.

References

Australian Government, Australian Law Reform Commission, website accessed 31/05/2018 https://www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/family-law-system.

Rae Kaspiew, “Separated parents and the family law system: What does the evidence say?”, 3 August 2016, Australian Government, Australian Institute of Family Studies, accessed 31/05/2018 https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/2016/08/03/separated-parents-and-family-law-system-what-does-evidence-say.