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Top five Family Law updates - July 2022

Updated: Jul 4, 2022




As your family law industry experts, we want to make sure you’re informed about what's new in the family law space, relevant to your practice. We've launched this new, regular blog segment where we summarise the most recent top five updates within family law in one easy-to-read article to keep you across the latest developments.


1. New Family Law Fees

From 1st July 2022, the fees payable in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia are changing. To find out what’s changing, access this table outlining the current family law fees payable, and what the new fees will be from 1st July.


For more info visit the FCFCOA website.


2. Media Release: New family law ‘Critical Incident List’ to help make arrangements for children during a time of crises

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia has created a fast-tracked process to help families make appropriate arrangements for children whose parents are no longer available to care for them, due to death, critical injury, or incarceration relating to family violence. Commencing on 6 June 2022, the process will be known as the ‘Critical Incident List’, and aims to enable families to have faster access to court listing dates in times of crisis. This process is crucial to incorporate into the family law system, as it will allow extended family members to make urgent arrangements for the child’s living, schooling, and medical circumstances.


For more information on the critical incident list visit the FCFCOA News and Media Centre.


3. LSJ Article: High Court rules on what constitutes ‘breakdown’ of a de facto relationship

The recent High Court decision of Fairbairn v Radecki [2022] provided clarity on what constitutes a ‘breakdown’ of a de-facto relationship for the purposes of sections 90SM and 4AA of the FLA. The court ruled that it is important to not only take into consideration physical separation and incapacity, but that it is also necessary to examine the previous conduct in the relationship. This includes things such as; whether the parties occupy the same or separate rooms within the house, and whether they treat their assets as separate or joint.


For an outline of the decision, read ‘The High Court rules on what constitutes a breakdown of a de facto relationship’ on the LSJ Online website.



4. Update to the Profession: Operational matters in the Family Law Jurisdiction following 1 September 2021 reforms.

The reformed Family Law system has been showing signs of successful initial implementation. The areas that have shown significant improvements include: less delays in moving through cases, trial pools have been greatly reduced, clearance rates above pre-pandemic levels, and increased numbers of registrars and Court Child experts that are assisting with dispute resolutions. As well as increased funding for the Lighthouse Project allowing it to launch nationally.


The remaining issues with the system include: slow clearance rates for ACOs, excessively large volume of documents required to initiate proceedings, issues surrounding physical subpoenas during Covid 19, long wait times for family reports, and the need for further professional education on topics such as case management.


For more information visit the FCFCOA website.


5. Visibility of Superannuation for Property Settlement Proceedings

When a client is seeking financial/property orders in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, their legal representative can now make a request for the superannuation information of their spouse, former spouse or de facto from the Commissioner of Taxation.


An application can be made by submitting a Superannuation Information Request form online using the Commonwealth Courts Portal. A response should be available within 7 days

The superannuation information provided by the ATO may not reflect an up-to-date account balance, so it is encouraged for parties to obtain up to date information by completing Form 6 in the Superannuation Kit. The superannuation information received should be used solely for the purposes of the proceeding and must not be disclosed to anyone that is not part of that proceeding.


For more information visit ato.gov.au.


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