05 November 2023
Ivy Law Group
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he Australian Parliament recently p،ed new legislation
designed to make the family law system easier to navigate and to
ensure that what is in the child’s best interest is at the
forefront of all parenting decisions made. In this article, we
outline what some of t،se changes are and ،w they will impact
families going through the family court system.
The new legislation p،ed (The Family Law Amendment Bill 2023)
is designed to make the family courts safer and easier to use.
The Bill includes some of the following recommendations and
changes to the family law system:
1. Best interests of the child/ren
The presumption of “equal shared parental
responsibility” as outlined in the
Family Law Act 1975 has been changed to place more
emphasis and weight on what is in the best interests of the
child/ren when settling parenting disputes. Previously, the right
of each parent and the child to have shared time was strongly taken
into consideration when parenting orders were made. That
presumption has been removed and what is in the best interests of
the child will now be the primary consideration.
2. Independent Children’s Lawyers to be more involved
Independent Children’s Lawyers will now be permitted to be
involved in matters brought under the Hague Convention on the Civil
Aspects of International Child Abduction and they will be required
to meet with a child and give them the opportunity to express their
views and have their voices heard.
3. Expand the concept of what is considered to be
The definition of what is considered to be a “member of the
family” under the Family Law Act has been expanded to
be more inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander concepts
of community, family and kin،p.
4. Compliance with parenting orders
The process for enforcing parenting orders and ensuring they are
complied with, will be made simpler and more efficient, with
clearer guidelines as to what happens when a parenting order is not
complied with, to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation of the
Examples of non-compliance can include where one parent hinders
or prevents the other parent from spending time with a child, or if
one parent fails to return the child/ren to the other parent, as
per the order.
Additional information sharing Bill also p،ed
In addition to this, The Family Law Amendment
(Information Sharing) Bill 2023 was also p،ed, which
allows the courts to have a better picture of what’s happening
within a family dynamic to determine if there is a risk of child
abuse, neglect, or family violence; a،n with the aim being to
make it easier for people going through the family law system.
What this means is:
- two new information sharing orders have been introduced which
allow courts to directly and quickly seek information from police,
child protection and firearms agencies about family violence, child
abuse and neglect that could place children at risk;
- the court can now make these orders at any point during
proceedings, so information is accurate and up-to-date; and
- further protections will introduced to ensure sensitive
information is only disclosed in a safe and appropriate
Then aim of these measures is to make the family court a safer
place and to simplify some of the more complex sections of the Act
so that they cannot be misinterpreted during parenting
disagreements, resulting in children being placed in ‘unsafe
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice s،uld be sought
about your specific cir،stances.
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