The New Family Law Merger and System – Podcast Episode 34

On this week’s episode of the Divorce Collective Podcast, Senior Associate Dannielle Young dives into the impending reforms in the Family Law system, slated for 1 September.

Family Law in Australia is on the cusp of significant transformation. With the landmark merger happening on 1 September 2021, this represents the most pivotal structural shift since the inception of the Family Court in the 1970s. As noted by NSW Law Society president Juliana Warner, this merger is monumental. But while some critics voice concerns, the Chief Justice believes that this change will increase, not diminish, specialisation within the court.

Decoding the Implications

The primary goal of the restructured procedures is twofold: to ensure disputes are settled fairly based on law and to make the process as swift, cost-effective, and efficient as possible.

Harmonising the Rules

One of the significant changes is the synchronisation of rules, along with an update of practice directions. The merger will introduce 14 concise practice directions, including a central case management direction and the launch of a National Contravention List. The latter is designed to promptly address any alleged violations of Court Orders.

Introducing the “Genuine Steps Certificate”

Another change is the inception of a “genuine steps certificate”, akin to the s60I certificate but with no mandatory mediation prerequisite for property matters.

Simplified Court Procedures

Post the pre-action procedures and filing, the first court event is expected within 6-8 weeks of filing. Thereafter, an interim hearing will follow if deemed necessary. With the introduction of Child impact reports, the next phase will emphasise dispute resolution, typically within 5-6 months of filing. If no resolution is reached, a compliance event ensues, leading to a trial. The ambitious aim is to conclude trials within a year of filing and deliver judgments within three months post-trial.

Seek Expert Guidance from Top Family Law Firms in Gold Coast

If you find yourself grappling with these changes or any family law matter, book a family law consultation free with us. Contact our dedicated team at 5574 0971 to find a convenient time.

We pride ourselves on offering a 45-minute initial consultation that’s not only free but also comes with no strings attached. Unlike many legal professionals, our team at one of the leading family law firms in Gold Coast is upfront about whether you need our services. Even if you don’t, you’ll walk away with clarity and peace of mind after spending an hour with our experts.


  1. What are the main objectives behind the changes in the Family Law system?

   – The reforms aim to ensure fair dispute settlements based on law, while also streamlining the process to be quicker, more affordable, and efficient.

  1. What is the “genuine steps certificate”?

   – It’s a new certificate akin to the s60I, with the primary difference being the non-mandatory mediation for property matters before filing.

  1. How will the new reforms impact the overall duration of trials?

   – The goal is to wrap up trials within 12 months of filing and deliver judgments within three months post-trial.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general understanding and does not substitute professional legal advice. Always seek consultation tailored to your specific situation.

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