Recent changes in the Family Law System

13 DEC 2023


Some major changes have recently occurred in the family law system. On 19 October 2023, the Commonwealth Parliament passed two bills, namely, the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 and the Family Law (Information Sharing) Bill 2023. The intention of these bills is to enhance the family law systems and to ensure the best interest of children are a priority.

The significant changes to the Family Law Act 1975, which will now become the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 include;

  • Amending the parenting framework by refining the list of ‘best interest factors’ to include;
    • What arrangements best promote the safety of the child
    • Any views expressed by the child
    • The developmental, psychological and emotional needs of the child
    • The benefit of being able to maintain relationship with both parents and significant others
    • The capacity for each carer to provide for the child’s needs
    • Any other relevant factors relating to the circumstance of the child
  • Removal of the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility and related equal time
  • Independent Children’s Lawyers are now required to meet directly with children
  • Greater powers to protect parties and children from harmful effects of protracted and adversarial litigation
  • A definition of ‘member of the family’ in the Family Law Act
  • Simplified compliance and enforcement provisions for child-related orders
  • Powers to enable government to regulate family report writers, and
  • Ensuring that children’s voices are heard more easily in matter sunder the Hague Convention

Further to the above, the introduction of the Family Law (Information Sharing) Bill 2023 will;

  • Ensure sensitive information is only released in a safe and appropriate manner;
  • Establish new information sharing orders that allows the court to directly seek information from police, child protection and firearm agencies about family violence, child abuse and neglect that could place the child at risk
  • Allow the courts to make the orders to access the above material at any point during proceedings to ensure the information is accurate and up-to-date

Both of these bills are yet to receive Royal Assent however will likely become legation in the coming months.


The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.


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