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Family Law Amendments 2023

A press release from Mark Dreyfus on the 19th October 2023 confirmed that the Family Law Amendment Bill passed through parliament.

The press release confirms the passing of two pieces of legislation.

The bill was passed by the parliament on the 17th October 2023.

You can find a copy of the bill on the Parliament of Australia website here.

You can also read the explanatory memorandum, the supplementary explanatory memorandum, and the replacement supplementary explanatory memorandum that accompany the bill here.

The bill consists of nine schedules that cover various aspects of the family law system, such as parenting orders, enforcement of child-related orders, independent children’s lawyers, information sharing, and harmful proceedings orders.

Family Law Amendment Bill 2023

The Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 is designed to improve the focus on the best interests of children and make the Family Law system easier to navigate.

Significant Changes:

– The repeal of the presumption of “equal shared parental responsibility” provisions in the Family Law Act 1975 so that decisions are based only on the best interests of the child.

  • – Requiring that Independent Children’s Lawyers meet directly with children in most cases.
  • – Greater protections from the harmful effects of protracted, adversarial litigation.
  • – The definition of member of the family to be inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander concepts of family and kinship,
  • – Simplified compliance and enforcement provisions in child-related orders,
  • – Powers to regulate family report writers,
  • – Ensuring that children’s voices are heard more easily in matters under Hague Convention Child Abduction cases

Family Law Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2023

This amendment is designed to ensure that the courts have access to a full picture of family safety risk in order to prioritise the safety of children and families especially when there is a risk of child abuse, neglect or family violence. This is part of the governments goal to end gender-based violence in a generation.

Significant Changes –

  • – Establishment of two new information sharing orders to allow courts to directly and quickly seek information from police, child protection and firearms agencies about family violence, child abuse and neglect
  • – Allow for updating of information at any point during the proceedings so that information is accurate and up-to-date
  • – Ensure sensitive information is only disclosed in a safe and appropriate manner.

Press Release – Passage of landmark family law reforms | Our ministers – Attorney-General’s portfolio