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FAMILY LAW NEWS

11-Oct-2017


New Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court
 
Senator the Hon George Brandis QC Attorney-General and Leader of the Government in the Senate yesterday (10 October 2017) announced the appointment of the Honourable John Pascoe AC CVO, the current Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court as the new Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia.

With Chief Judge Pascoe’s elevation, Mr William Alstergren QC, the current President of the Australian Bar Association, will become the new Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court.  

Subscribers may read the complete release at our online members' Practice News.


First comprehensive review of the Family Law Act

Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, Attorney-General and Leader of the Government in the Senate yesterday (27 September 2017) issued the following media release:
 
I have today commissioned the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to undertake the first comprehensive review of the family law system since the commencement of the Family Law in 1976.
 
This review is necessary and long overdue. Australian families and their needs have significantly evolved since the 1970s.

Subscribers may read the entire release at our online members' Practice News.


Foreign resident capital gains withholding payments



The Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia published the following in FLS News on 19 July 2017:

From 1 July 2016, the tax legislation has provided that purchasers of real property for $2m, or more, must withhold 10% of the purchase price and remit that sum to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), unless the vendor can produce at settlement a "clearance certificate".



The stated intention of this amendment was to capture capital gains tax (CGT) which was apparently not being paid by a significant number of foreign nationals who sold real estate in Australia for profits that would normally be subject to CGT.



In the May Budget, the Federal Government announced that this limit would be reduced to $750,000 from 1 July 2017. Accordingly, the purchaser of any real property for $750,000, or more, must remit 10% of the purchase price to the ATO at settlement.



However, there are two exceptions:



The rest of this notice is 
available for our subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


Family violence and cross-examination of parties



The Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, has released draft legislation which will amend the Family Law Act 1975 to ensure that victims of family violence are protected from being personally cross-examined by their alleged perpetrators. A public consultation paper, which sets out the Government’s proposed approach to amending the law, has also been released.

 

Links to the Exposure Draft, Public Consultation Paper and media release are available for our subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


New form for Australian subpoenas served in New Zealand

The following form and publication relating to Australian subpoenas served in New Zealand (Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010) have been published on the Family Court of Australia website. Our subscribers may read more at our online members' Practice News.


Court orders are going digital

Notice to practitioners 31 May 2017:

As part of the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia’s commitment to the Government’s digital continuity policy the courts are changing the way court orders are accessed.

Faster access to your court orders online, anytime!

The move to completely digital court orders will be rolled out in two stages.

Subscribers may read the entire release at our online members' Practice News.


New practice direction for the conduct of appeals

The Family Court of Australia has issued Practice Direction No. 1 of 2017 - Conduct of appeals.


CGT withholding variation for transfers worth over $2m – Marriage or relationship breakdowns

On 1 July 2016 a foreign resident capital gains tax withholding regime commenced by which transferees of all property sold for more than $2m were to remit 10% of the sale price to the ATO unless the transferor had provided a clearance certificate or a residency/interests declaration.

A complete notice is available for subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


Amendment of Family Law Rules to take effect from 1 January 2017

The Family Law Amendment (2016 Measures No.1) Rules 2016 have been signed by a majority of judges and have been registered. 

An edited version of its media release is available for subscribers at our online members' Practice News.

Family law system initiatives 

The Australian Government this month (October 2016) announced initiatives to improve the family law system and outcomes for Australian families. 

An edited version of its media release is available for subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill - Exposure Draft

The following is an edited copy of a media release yesterday (10 October 2016) by the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC.

An Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill has been released which will form the basis for ongoing consultation should the same-sex marriage plebiscite go ahead.
 
The key features of the Exposure Draft are set out in an edited copy of the release available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


Withholding tax regime to apply from 1 July 2016

The Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No. 6) Act 2016 (Cth) amends Schedule 1 of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) by adding at the end of Division 14 Subdivision 14-D – Capital proceeds involving foreign residents and taxable Australian property.

The following is a copy of a notice published by the Australian Taxation Office: 

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
   


Proposed amendments to the Family Law Act

The Family Law Amendment (Financial Agreements and Other Measures) Bill 2015 is again before Parliament.

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
   


eDivorce

The following is an edited copy of an announcement made by the family law courts (Family Court of Australia and the FCC) on 15 June 2016:

The family law courts have moved to a completely electronic divorce file by means of eFiling using the interactive online form in the Commonwealth Courts Portal (see link below). 

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
  


Biennial
increase to court fees from 1 July 2016

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
   



New forms and publications from 1 January 2016

The 
Family Law Amendment (Arbitration and Other Measures) Rules 2015 have been signed by a majority of judges and are now registered.   

The following forms and publications have changed and are now available on the website www.familycourt.gov.au


The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
  
 

COURT FEE SHEMOZZLE - Increased court fees again disallowed by Senate

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
  


New court fees from today (13 July 2015)

The fee increases which were to take effect on 1 July were disallowed in the Senate. However, new regulations have been passed to increase the fees which will take effect from today (13 July 2015).   

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
  


Court fee increases rejected by Senate

The Senate has disallowed schedule 2 of Federal Courts (Fees) Regulation 2015, meaning it ceases to have effect immediately.  This means there will be no family law fee increases on 1 July 2015.

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
 


New court fees - from 1 July 2015

For members, see "court fees" at our online "forms and precedents".


New court websites now live 

The new Family Court (www.familycourt.gov.au) and Federal Circuit Court (www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au) websites went live on Friday (29 May 2015). 


The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
  

 

New websites on the way for Family Court and FCC



The full text of this release (25 February 2015) is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
 

  

Six new Queensland family law service providers announced

The full text of this release (22 December 2014) is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
  


What's new?


A link to new content added to the family law courts website is available for our subscribers at our online members' Practice News..



Changes to court forms and to payments to "Collector of Public Moneys"

The full text of this release today (8 November 2014) and accompanying links to new court forms are available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
 



Consistent use of "de facto partner" in family law forms 

It has been identified that a consistent approach to referencing de facto partner within family law forms should apply.


The full text of this release today (11 September 2014) and accompanying link are available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.
 


Family Law Council report on parentage and the Family Law Act

The full text of the Attorney-General's release today (14 August 2014) and accompanying link are available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.



New court fees from 1 July 2014

The full text of this notice and accompanying link are available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.



What's new


Links to new content at the Family Law Courts website have been posted today (13 April 2014) at our members' home page.



New scale of costs to apply from 1 January 2014

Schedule 3 of the Family Law Rules (’itemised scale of costs’) has been amended, effective from 1 January. 

A link to the amendment is available to subscribers at our members' home page.


What's new

Links to new content added to the Family Law Courts website has been posted at our members' home page.



Change to court fees


A change to court fees has been announced (22 October 2013) so as to add a fee ($95) for an application to register a New Zealand judgment under the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010.



Commonwealth response to Family Violence Report
 
Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General, Shayne Neumann, yesterday (25 June 2013) announced the tabling in the Parliament of the Australian Government’s response to the report by the Australian and New South Wales Law Reform Commissions, Family Violence – A National Legal Response. 

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.



New federal judicial complaints handling process commences

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC yesterday (12 April 2013) welcomed improved processes for the handling of complaints about federal judicial officers.

An edited version of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


 

New web tool translates family law into plain language

Plain language explanations of common family law terms will become accessible with the release of a new web-based tool.
 
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC today (15 February 2013) launched the Family Law TermFinder, an online resource to provide Australians with accessible and authoritative translations of the most common family law terms.

The full text of this release and a link to Family Law TermFinder is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


Australia welcomes three more countries to the Hague Abduction Convention

The Hague Convention on Child Abduction comes into force today (1 February 2013) between Australia and three additional countries - Singapore, Albania and the Ukraine. 

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


Miscellaneous amendments to the Family Law Rules

The Family Law Amendment Rules 2012 (No. 2)
 will come into effect on 1 January 2013. 

A summary of the amendments and links to these rules and Explanatory Statement are available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


New court fees from 1 January 2013

published today (12 December 2012).

The Family Law (Fees) Regulations 2012 will introduce, on 1 January 2013, a single legislative instrument for fees for all courts exercising family law jurisdiction. 

This will see a variety of new fees introduced in the courts as well as changes to existing fees. 

The full text of this notice and accompanying links are available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


New proof of divorce form

This notice, for use if clients need to prove that they are divorced, was published on 27 November 2012. 

To streamline the process for clients of the Family Law Courts in requesting proof of divorce, a new form has been introduced. 

The full text of this notice is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


Registry opening hours December 2012 – January 2013

Albury, Alice Springs, Cairns, Canberra, Dandenong, Darwin, Dubbo, Hobart, Launceston, Lismore, Newcastle, Parramatta, Rockhampton, Townsville, Wollongong and the National Support Office will be closed from Tuesday 25 December 2012 and will re-open on Monday 7 January 2013.

During this time, phone calls to these registries will be re-directed to:

NATIONAL ENQUIRY CENTRE 
Phone: 1300 352 000 
Email: enquiries@familylawcourts.gov.au
 TTY/voice calls: 133 677 (National Relay Service)
 Speak & Listen Calls: 1300 555 727

Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and the National Enquiry Centre will be open throughout the period with the exception of the following public holidays: Tuesday 25 December 2012, Wednesday 26 December 2012 and
Tuesday 1 January 2013.


Family Violence Best Practice Principles

The third edition of the above was published on 12 October 2012 and is available at our online Members' Archive and at our online "forms and precedents".


Introducing the Federal Circuit Court of Australia

What we know as the Federal Magistrates Court will soon become the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, and the title of Federal Magistrate will be renamed Judge to better reflect their important role in Australia’s judicial system.
 
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon announced the change today (13 September 2012) as part of the Government’s ongoing court reform agenda to provide greater certainty around the responsibilities and role of each of the federal courts.

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' Practice News.


Family Law Council to examine family surrogacy and parentage

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon today (22 June 2012) charged the Family Law Council with examining how issues of surrogacy and family formation are dealt with by the
Family Law Act 1975.

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' practice news.


Change of forms related to the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 commencing today (7 June 2012).

Details of the updated forms are available to subscribers at our online members' practice news.


New family violence changes take effect 

Better protection for children who are exposed to family violence will be available with changes to the Family Law Act that come into effect today (7 June 2012).

The full text of this release and a link to the amendments is available to subscribers at our online members' practice news.



New funding to improve family law advice for those in need 

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon today (25 May 2012) announced an additional $200,000 has been allocated to fund initiatives to improve provide greater access to justice for people from Indigenous and culturally diverse backgrounds.


The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' practice news.



Research to ask families and children about Independent Children's Lawyers

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon today (25 May 2012) announced a new research project into whether Independent Children’s Lawyers are effective when representing children in family law cases. 


The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' practice news.



De facto property laws pass Parliament

The Attorney-General, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP today (22 March 2012) issued the following release.

Laws to provide certainty to people who have orders of the federal family law courts in de facto property and maintenance matters passed Parliament today.


The complete text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' practice news.



Government to provide certainty over de facto property and maintenance orders

The Attorney-General, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP issued the following media release today (29 February 2012).

The Australian Government will be introducing a Bill in March 2012 to provide certainty to people who have orders of the federal family law courts in de facto property and maintenance matters.

The full text of this release is available to subscribers at our online members' practice news.



Jurisdiction in relation to de facto financial causes
 
EDITED TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP BY MARIUS BENSON ON ABC NEWS RADIO – 22 FEBRUARY 2012
 
TOPIC: Family Law Proclamation

An edited transcript of this interview is available to subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.



Jurisdiction in relation to de facto financial causes

As you know, the Family Law Act 1975
 was amended by the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Act 2008 (the De Facto Act) to provide, inter alia, for opposite sex and same sex de facto couples to access the federal family law courts in relation to financial matters. 

Section 40 of the Family Law Act requires the Governor-General to proclaim a date on or after which the Family Court of Australia may exercise jurisdiction in respect of proceedings specified in the proclamation, and that jurisdiction cannot be exercised until such a proclamation has been made.

Section 40A of the Family Law Act empowers the Federal Magistrates Court to exercise family law jurisdiction only where the Family Court of Australia has been given that jurisdiction.

It has recently been discovered that a proclamation in relation to de facto financial causes instituted under the Family Law Act had been overlooked.  On 9 February 2012, acting on advice from Government, the Governor-General made a proclamation fixing 11 February 2012 as the date on and after which the jurisdiction of the Family Court in relation to de facto financial causes could be exercised.  The date applies equally to the Federal Magistrates Court when it exercises de facto financial jurisdiction.

It would appear that there is a gap in the jurisdiction of the Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court for the period between the commencement of the relevant parts of the De Facto Act on 1 March 2009 (1 July 2010 in South Australia) and 11 February 2012 (the date of effect of the proclamation).

The problem doesn’t arise in Western Australia, where de facto financial cases are still determined in the Family Court under State legislation.

FLS is concerned that orders made during that period by both the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court, and acted on by parties, may have been made without jurisdiction.  FLS is also concerned that a large number of applications may not have been validly issued.

FLS has written to the Attorney-General asking that an urgent announcement be made to confirm that the Government is working to resolve the problem created by the hiatus in jurisdiction, and that any rectification will have retrospective effect validating orders made by both Courts.  The Attorney-General’s Department has advised that they are working very closely with the Attorney-General's Office to identify what further action may need to be taken in relation to the de facto property jurisdiction. 


Geoffrey Sinclair


Chair of Family Law Section


Law Council of Australia

21 February 2012



Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011

The Bill received Royal Assent on 7 December 2011, but its commencement was not immediate. A table summarising when each part comes into effect, a summary of the changes and a link to the Explanatory Statement is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.



"Certificates of no impediment" to same sex marriage overseas 

The following is a media release from the Attorney-General the Hon Nicola Roxon MP today (27 January 2012):

Australians seeking to enter into a same-sex marriage overseas will be able to apply for a Certificate of No Impediment to marriage for the first time from 1 February 2012.


The full text of the release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.

 

 
Changes to the Financial Statement form


Changes have been made to Parts A and M of the Financial Statement form, applicable in both courts. The updated form is available to our subscribers at our online "forms and precedents".



Family Law Amendment Rules 2011 (No.2)

A range of amendments have been made to the Family Law Rules 2004. These Rules will commence on 1 January 2012.

The major changes and links to the explanatory statement and the Amendment Rules are available to subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.



Family violence reforms passed by Parliament

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today (24 November 2011) welcomed the passage through Parliament of landmark legislation to protect children who are caught up in family law matters from family violence and child abuse. The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Senate Committee endorses Government's family law reforms 

Attorney-General Robert McClelland yesterday (22 August 2011) welcomed the Senate Committee of Legal and Constitutional Affairs’ endorsement of the Gillard Government’s reforms to the family law system.
 
The Committee’s response to the Government’s
Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 was tabled in the Senate this evening.
 

The full text of the release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Family law courts launch of revised Family Violence Best Practice Principles


The revised Family Violence Best Practice Principles were published by the Family Law Courts on Tuesday (19 July 2011).


The full text of the release and the revised Principles are available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Exposure to domestic violence a form of child abuse

 
The Attorney-General the Hon Robert McClelland MP and Minister for Home Affairs and Justice the Hon Brendan O'Connor MP issued this media release on 27 June 2011.

The full text of the release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Filing of a Notice of Ceasing to Act or a Notice of Withdrawal as Lawyer

The Family Law Courts have announced a change in procedure and forms in respect to the above effective 20 June 2011.

The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Australia welcomes Japan's move on Hague Convention


Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Attorney-General Robert McClelland today (21 May 2011) welcomed the Japanese Government’s decision to proceed with preparations for ratifying the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, known as the Hague Convention.

The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Applications for Consent Orders – A reminder for applicants to sign Part J

It has come to our attention that some consent order applications may be at risk of being requisitioned due to omission of the date in Part J (“Statement of Truth of Applicant”). The Application provides for a space for the insertion of the date upon which the statement has been made. Without a date being inserted the Registrar may not be able to confirm compliance with Rule 10.18 of the Family Law Rules which provides for the lapsing of consent. 

The full text of this notice is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


User Guides to eFiling of Initiating Applications and Responses to Initiating Applications (both courts)

The Family Law Courts website has been updated to include the above.

Links to these user guides are available to subscribers at our online Members' Practice News. 


New national register for domestic and family violence orders 

Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis today (4 March 2011) welcomed the agreement of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General to implement a national scheme for domestic and family violence orders that will improve protection for victims of domestic violence.

The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Strong public response to Family Violence Bill 

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today (15 February 2011) said there has been a strong community response to the Gillard Government’s draft Family Law Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2010.

The full text of this release and a link to it are available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Family Law Amendment (Validation of Certain Parenting Orders and Other Measures) Bill 2010

This Bill was passed by the House of Representatives on 23 November and the Senate on 26 November. The Act will commence upon receiving Royal Assent. 
Note - The Bill received Royal Assent on 16 December 2010.

Our edited extract from the Explanatory Memorandum and live links to the Explanatory Memorandum and the Bill are available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.

 
Family Law Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2010 - Exposure Draft

The Australian Government has approved the release of an exposure draft of this Bill in order to facilitate further public consultation on proposed family law reforms. 

The Bill focuses on prioritising the safety of children whose rights and interests are considered under the Family Law Act. This Bill would amend the Act to strengthen the role of family courts, advisers and parents in preventing harm to children while continuing to support the concept of shared parental responsibility and shared care where these are safe. 

Its proposed amendments and a link for submissions are available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Protecting children at risk of violence

 
Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today released a draft Bill for public consultation proposing amendments to the Family Law Act to provide better protections for children and families at risk of violence.
 
The proposed amendments are in response to reports received by the Government from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Professor Richard Chisholm AM and the Family Law Council.

The full text of this release and a link for submissions are available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Deadline for parenting applications


The national filing deadline for all applications seeking parenting orders relating to the summer (Christmas) school holiday period is 4:00pm on 12 November 2010.

The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Amendment of Family Law Rules


The Family Law Rules have been amended as at 1 August 2010. 

The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Superannuation Determination – Interest rate for 2010/11 financial year

 
The Family Law (Superannuation) (Interest Rate for Adjustment Period) Determination 2010 (under the Family Law (Superannuation) Regulations 2001) came into effect on 1 July 2010.

The full text of this release, our editorial note about it and live links to the Determination and Explanatory Statement are available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


South Australia refers its powers over de facto relationships to the Commonwealth 

The following was released by Family Law Courts National Communication published 30 June 2010.

With effect from 1 July 2010, Part VIIIAB of the Family Law Act will apply to couples whose de facto relationship has a geographical connection with South Australia (SA). The laws already apply to couples with a connection to all other States and Territories except Western Australia.

The full text of this release and our editorial note about amended forms are available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Attorney-General Hon Robert McClelland MP's address to the Lone Fathers Association 2010 National Conference, 16 June 2010

The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Protocol for the division of work between the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court as at 29/01/2010

The Chief Justice and the Chief Federal Magistrate have published a Protocol for the guidance of the legal profession and litigants, so as to enable matters to be directed properly to the court appropriate to hear them. 

The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Release of family law reviews

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today released key reports examining the operation of the family law system and how the family law courts deal with cases involving family violence.

The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Changes to requirements for financial agreements to be binding

On 4 January 2010, an amendment to the Family Law Act relaxed the formalities for for financial agreements to be binding, in response to the Full Court’s ruling in Black [2008] FamCAFC 7 that strict compliance with the Act is necessary.

The amendment, contained in Schedule 5 of the Federal Justice System Amendment (Efficiency Measures) Act (No. 1) 2009, applies to financial (and termination) agreements made since the introduction of “financial agreements” (as Part VIIIA of the Act) on 27 December 2000 and also covers Part VIIIAB financial agreements in relation to de facto relationships.

The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Building better partnerships between family relationship centres and legal assistance services

The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, announced today (4 December 2009) one-off funding allocations totalling $4.2 million for more than 60 successful proposals for legal assistance services to partner with Family Relationship Centres. The pilot program is designed to help separated or separating families by providing access to early and targeted legal information and advice when attending Family Relationship Centres.

The full text of this release is available to our subscribers at our online Members' Practice News.


Media Contact: Daniel Gleeson 0409 562 425










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