family law disputes are governed by the family law act
Family law disputes are governed by the Family Law Act . Each court bases its decision on the aforementioned law in accordance with their Rules of Court. The following courts have jurisdiction over family law disputes:
- Magistrates’ Courts or Local Courts of each State or Territory;
- Federal Circuit Court;
- Family Court;
- Family Court of Western Australia.
The Family Law Court and Federal Circuit Courts have concurrent jurisdiction (with a few exceptions) over family law matters but each has its own Rules of Court. These courts were created by virtue of Australian Federal Government legislation. The Family Court as much as possible avoids the parties from going through a trial and aims to resolve the dispute by following a case management approach:
- Phase 1: Prevention
- Phase 2: Resolution
- Phase 3: Determination
On the other hand, the Federal Circuit Court deals with simpler family law matters except for the following:
- nullity or validity of marriage applications; and
- property or maintenance cases in which the property is valued at more than $700,000, unless with consent of both parties.
The Federal Circuit Court encourages primary dispute resolution all throughout the court negotiations. The Federal Circuit Court operates from Melbourne, Dandenong, Canberra, Parramatta, Newcastle, Brisbane, Townsville, Darwin, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston and Sydney (divorce applications only).
The Family Law Court and Federal Circuit Courts have their own forms which can be obtained from the Court Registry. Decisions of these two courts are appealable to the Family Court of Australia
The subject matters under the jurisdiction of the Family Court of Australia are:
- nullity or validity of marriage;
- spouse maintenance;
- child support (parties have to comply first with the requirements set by the Child Support Agency); and
- appeals from decisions of the other courts including by a federal circuit court dealing with family matters, and of decisions made in the Family Court itself.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.