Australian Family Law Court Abolished
I ‘blinked’ and almost missed it!
It was early morning in the middle of February 2021 when, as I was walking passed the television, I heard a breakfast announcer state that the Australian Government had just passed the Bill to abolish the Family Law Court and merge it with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
This got my attention, so as I started ‘channel surfing’ to see what others were reporting, I was trying to understand what this actually meant and if indeed my initial fear was correct? With each commentary, it was becoming very clear that the Bill had only been passed as a result of 2 Crossbenchers agreeing to the Bill, so it had only passed by the slimmest of votes.
This started to ring alarm bells as well because, again without full details yet, this indicated to me that a large % of Parliament were dead against it …and for good reason.
I recalled reading in the previous week that a petition had been signed by a significant number of Legal Professionals including Judges and Family Law Experts, which had been presented to Parliament, requesting that this merger not go ahead and outlined reasons why. This article can give you more insight on that.
As I checked in with ‘Mr. Google’ it became clear of what had occurred.
My personal involvement with the Family Law Courts many years ago was in 2 ways. The initial one was when my Parents Divorced and I was 4. In hindsight, the archaic and tragic way in which custody and family maintenance and divorce were handled had a profound effect on me and I have known others to have endured the same. When indeed I was involved the 2nd time, I was pleased to see that some reforms had occurred and whilst the maintenance for children was still a struggle legally, other issues were dealt with much better.
In speaking with many people, both men and women, who have needed to utilize both the Family Court System and the legal system for domestic violence and child welfare, the overwhelm and exasperation felt by all stakeholders was clear.
Yes the system required reform and extra resources, funding and support however as was highlighted by Miranda Kaye Senior Lecturer in Law at University Technology Sydney and Co-Author with Associate Prof Tracey Booth of the 2020 Study ‘Exploring the impact and effect of Self Representation by one or both Parties in Family Law proceedings involving allegations of Family Violence’ recommendations for improvements and enhancing these in a specialized legal system are, and have been, the centre of many undertakings which have value for achieving.
Whenever Legislation is passed we as Australians have to trust that it is always being voted on by those we have elected to represent us, in a manner that will support us. I am not so sure that this particular Legislation, which affects not just our Families now however well into the future, has achieved that.
Now I’m no expert, and I am certainly not suggesting that many of us are when it comes to Family Law matters however what I do know is that being informed, researching and sharing the information that others have taken the time to ‘break things down’ so that we can all understand, is vital when we are wanting to understand and contribute to the laws that govern our community.
So, to help you and I, I recommend this excellent breakdown written by Belinda Jepson at MamaMia Media which helped me get a decent ‘overview’ of it all.
So? Where too now? As a result of what has happened, I am keen to understand the future impact of this on our families and will be doing my utmost to get amongst the conversations because as we know, things can change. You can change things. You have the power as do we all.
Has this new Legislation affected you or someone you know? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments so please do so below or email me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
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– Heart Hugs, Jaynie xxx
Jaynie Morris is an Author, Speaker and Advocate for Women over 50. She is the Founder of SheroesUnlimited Global Community for Women Over 50.