The new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia and what this means for you.
From 1 September 2021 the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court merged to become the new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA).
The FCFCOA aims to focus on a fair and efficient process for finalising the financial affairs between married or de facto parties whose relationship has come to an end by using mediation to reduce costs, delays and emotional stress on parties. The court process is now seen as a last resort and the Court expects parties to make genuine attempts to reach agreement, either partially or in full, via mediation before commencing Court proceedings.
At the end of a marriage or de facto relationship, in most cases, there is an issue as to what assets, debts and superannuation each of the parties will take to give a fair outcome between them. There are certain factors which the Family Law Act requires be taken into account when determining what a fair property settlement outcome between the two parties might be. Before attending mediation, you may find it useful to obtain your own legal advice about what those factors are and what a Judge might decide would be a fair outcome in your particular circumstances, if a Judge is asked to do so.
If an agreement for a property settlement can be reached at mediation then it is important to have that agreement put into a format which is legally binding on both parties. By ensuring the property settlement terms agreed at mediation are legally binding, both parties can then move on with their lives without any concern that the other party may later decide they are not satisfied with the agreement reached at mediation and decide to seek a more favourable settlement at some later time.
If you cannot reach an agreement at mediation, or it is not safe for you to attend mediation with your former partner, you can apply to the Court for property settlement orders (‘financial’ orders) to be made.
The new FCFCOA also has a new set of Rules for Family Law matters which can be found here.
If you are recently separated or thinking of separating, we would be happy to discuss your situation and your options in a free first interview.
CAUTION: This article contains general information of public interest only and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon as, legal advice specific to the reader’s personal circumstances. Should you have a legal matter, please seek professional advice before acting or relying on this content.