This week on the Divorce Collective Podcast, we have another great episode from Senior Associate Dannielle Young, covering the changes coming to Family Law on 1 September.

The Family Law system is in for an overhaul! It is happening, and the changes will commence on 1 September 2021. The “merger marks one of the most significant structural changes to the family law system since its establishment of the Family Court in the mid-1970s,” said NSW Law Society president Juliana Warner in her opening remarks to the Chief Justice’s address last week.

The Chief Justice is confident that despite criticism the merger has been getting from the profession and stakeholders that “the level of specialisation in the court is growing, not decreasing.”

But what does it all mean?

The “overarching purpose” of the new practice and procedures is to facilitate the just resolution of disputes (1) according to law and (2) as quickly, inexpensively, and efficiently as possible.

How will they do that?

Let’s start with the harmonised rules…

Then there is the updating of practice directions. There will be specific practice directions that each deal with a discrete area or application type. As far as we know, there will be 14 clear practice directions.

The merger intends to bring with it a single central case management practice direction. There will be a National Contravention List introduced. The plan for this new Contravention List is to deal with allegations of breaches of Court Orders swiftly.

The new procedures will introduce a “genuine steps certificate,” not dissimilar we understand to the s60I certificate, except it will not be mandatory to mediate property before filing.

After pre-action procedures and filing, there will be a first Court Event aimed to take place within 6-8 weeks of filing. The next court event will be an interim hearing but only where necessary. Child impact reports will be introduced.

The next step will be dispute resolution, which will occur within 5-6 months of filing. If not resolved, there will be a compliance event and then a trial.

Trials are aimed to be done within 12 months from the date of filing, and judgments will be aimed to be delivered within 3 months from trial.

To discuss your family law matter in-depth with one of our family lawyers, give us a call on 5574 0971 or click here –

to arrange a time that suits you! We offer a free initial consultation that is 100% obligation-free. Unlike many lawyers, we will let you know if you don’t require our services, and you can gain peace of mind from your hour with us!

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