On 1 September 2021, the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia merged creating one court where all family law matters will be heard. This court is known as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (“FCFCOA”).
Previously, the Federal Circuit Court was the main entry point for family law matters, hearing all matters aside from complex family law matters, which were dealt with in the Family Court of Australia. It is widely known that there were often lengthy delays in the family court, meaning that some matters would take years to go through the system.
As of 1 September 2021, there is one point of entry for all family law matters. Within the FCFCOA there are two divisions. Division 1 will only deal with complex family matters and division 2 will deal with the less complex family law matters and other federal law matters such as immigration. The idea behind the merger is to combat the time delays previously seen in the family court system and to enable parties to try and reach an agreement earlier.
Benefits of the Merger
The main benefit of the new court is that your family law matters should be heard and dealt with much quicker than they have been in the past. Registrars will deal with most mentions, leaving Judges with more time to hear trials. Not only does this mean that when you file your application, you will be given an earlier court date, but if your matter goes to trial, you should not be waiting months for a trial date.
If you are commencing property proceedings, then you will now need to complete a genuine step certificate. This has not previously been required. The genuine step certificate is to show the court that you have tried to reach an agreement with your former spouse, through means such as negotiation or mediation, before bringing the matter to the court.
The Family Lawyers at Macrossan and Amiet are hopeful that the merger will have the desired effect of unclogging the system so that our client’s can have matters resolved in a more timely manner.