The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia have merged. Let’s navigate the family law court merger together with some FAQs:
Q: When did the merger take effect?
A From 1 September 2021
Q: What will the new Court be called?
A The amalgamated new court will be known as Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA).
Q: What is the reason for this merger?
The main reason for the merger is :-
- to reduce costs and delay in family litigation and to encourage proceedings to be conducted in a more calm and civil manner
- to facilitate the fair resolution of disputes as quickly, inexpensively, and efficiently as possible
Q: How will delays and backlogs be reduced?
A: The FCFCA will place greater emphasis on encouraging parties to settle their matters, where it is safe to do so through dispute resolution. This means there will be less final hearings and Court events, reducing the Court’s workload.
Q: What protection will be afforded to children?
A: The FCFCA will place emphasis on the need to protect the rights of children, promote their welfare and protect them from family violence.
Q: Will there only be one Court after the family law court merger?
A There will be one court, but two divisions of that court. The Family Court of Australia will become the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia (Division 1). The Federal Circuit Court of Australia will become the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia (Division 2).
Q: What is the difference between Division 1 and Division 2?
Essentially, applications will be filed in Division 2 and appeals will be heard in Division 1.
Q: Will the current Court forms still apply?
A Yes and no. The FCFCA has streamlined its procedures and new forms are now available on the new FCFCA website. The FCFCA will accept the old forms for a grace period of 90 days from 1 September 2021. After this time, the new forms must be used when applying to the Court.
Q: What is the new FCFCA website address?
Q: What does this mean for my family law proceedings?
A: You will not be required to do anything if your matter is already in the court system. If your matter was previously in the Family Court of Australia, it will now be listed in Division 1. If your matter was previously in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, it will now be listed in Division 2.
Q What forms am I required to file if I want to commence a financial or parenting application in Court?
A If you are filing an application in the new Court, you can look at their website to find a list of the forms you will be required to file in support of that application.
The Court’s information about required documents for applications can be found here: https://www.fcfcoa.gov.au/fl/ss-overview
If you require any assistance in your family law matter please call us on 07 3548 5850 or contact us here.