Resolving Family Law Disputes Early – Under the New Family Law Rules

11 OCT 2021


The new and improved Family Court was introduced on the 1st of September 2021, with new rules and court procedures aiming to make the experience for those involved in Family Law proceedings more efficient and less stressful. The Court has established a fresh and innovative pre-action procedure, which has meant our clients and other parties involved must seek resolution of any Family Law issue they may have through participating in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This is a cost effective way to encouraging both parties to an early resolution, or before the need to commence proceedings in Court. Appropriate steps to resolve the issues through ADR include parties taking part in mediation, arbitration or as simple as exchanging offers to settle. If the matter is resolved at this stage, this is a great outcome for our clients reaching an amicable resolution, and not having the need to litigate the matter. 

What happens to clients that don’t reach an agreement in resolving their Family Law dispute through ADR? 

The Court has made it mandatory for both parties to file alongside other initial Court documents to be filed, a 'Genuine Steps Certificate', which is a form where both parties confirm:

  1. They have a Family Law Issue which needs to be resolved.
  2. Invited parties involved to settle the matter through ADR.
  3. Tried their best to cooperate and participate in ADR, including exchanging all relevant material.
  4. Provided written notices to parties that they were not able to resolve the issue through ADR and have intention to start Family Law Court proceedings.

This certificate can be classified as a 'certificate of achievement' that both parties have done their best and everything they could do to resolve the matter outside of Court, but now need the Courts helping hand to resolve the matter. If a client doesn’t participate in ADR due to safety reasons, this includes parties involved in family violence or abuse, the Court understands that it's within the client's best interest to be exempted from ADR and to mention this in their genuine steps certificate when filling it out, at which they are still able to file to commence proceedings. 

How can Marsdens Help you?  

Marsdens understands the complexed Family Law issues that need to be overcome and burden upon parties involved. We strive to achieve a speedy resolution through ADR and reach the best possible outcome for our clients. If you are currently going through a separation with your partner or know someone that is and looking for assistance to resolve matters in the least costly and most efficient way, get in contact with our Family Law team and accredited specialists today across our multiple firm locations to discuss how Marsdens can assist.

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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