Saturday, 14 June 2008

Family Dispute resolution for all Parenting Orders

All people applying to the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court for a parenting order must first attend family dispute resolution under changes to family law, except where there is child abuse, family violence or in matters of urgency, Attorney-General Robert McClelland has said.

The changes will take effect from 1 July 2008 and are designed to help separating families resolve disputes without litigation. The changes were foreshadowed as part of the 2006 family law reforms.

The new requirements affect all applications to the court for a parenting order under Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975 relating to children's matters, irrespective of whether previous applications to the court have been made.

There is currently an exception for parties not to have to attend family dispute resolution if applications were made before 1 July 2006. That exception will now be removed.

"Currently, people are only required to attend family dispute resolution if they have lodged a new application for a parenting order after 1 July 2007," Mr McClelland said.

"The exceptions to family dispute resolution will remain in cases where there is child abuse or family violence, or in matters of urgency," Mr McClelland said.

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