New Changes to Family Law Commencing 6 May 2024

The Family Law Act of 2023 and Family Law Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2023 were both passed by the Australian Parliament on 19 October 2023. These include a variety of changes in the court system. These latest changes, to both law acts, will not affect any property proceedings. The Family Law Act of 2023 brings new laws containing new ways in what the court must consider when deciding what may be in a child’s best interest and how separated parents go about making decisions for their children.


What is Family Law Act of 2023?

These recent changes will affect people who are in an ongoing parental matter in court (which has not been finalised before 6 May 2024) and anyone who’s trying to settle on a parenting arrangement for their children. The number of changes to the law about parenting arrangements will include:

  • Now being able to provide a concise list of factors for the courts to consider when making parenting arrangements in the best interests of the children.
  • Introducing more sections into the process of decision making about long-term issues regarding a child.

Other changes that are not related to parenting arrangements and are still apart of the Family Law act of 2023 are:

  • Expanding the meaning of the existing terms ‘member of family’ and ‘relative’ to create a more inclusive environment for Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander’ and their concept of family.
  • Requirements for Independent Children’s lawyers to meet with a children/s who are apart of a court hearing if they are over 5 years old (only if the children themselves wishes to meet with a lawyer or if exceptional circumstances apply)
  • Impact applications which now apply alongside court orders such as Contravention Applications (applications made to the court claiming another party is not following a court order)
  • New powers granted to the court in attempt at preventing harmful litigation (which also involves making harmful proceedings orders.


What is the Family Law Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2023?

The Family Law Amendment (Information Sharing) Act was introduced late last year. This was in the effort to raise and enhance more awareness about child abuse, children of neglect and family violence information throughout the Courts, police, and child welfare agencies.


Family Law Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2023 presents:

  • Protects against disclosing information which identifies a notifier of alleged child abuse or family violence (unless given exceptional circumstances)
  • Introduces a new requirement where parties must seek the Court’s permission before issuing a subpoena to an information sharing agency which has been ordered to provide documents or information.
  • Enforces more safeguards into information sharing about cases of child abuse and family violence.
  • Introduces provisions about how relevant information is to a case for admission and whether it should be shared or not.


When will these changes come into effect?

Starting 6 May 2024, all the above changes for both law acts will come into effect and apply to all new and existing cases in the Court. Although it should not apply if a final hearing has begun, some changes could apply depending on the circumstances.


What does this mean for Practitioners?

Parties and Practitioners who are preparing to file an application with the court should consider timing and how the laws maybe affect their application. Practitioners of the Law or any parties currently involved in a proceeding who have hearings after 6 May 2024(based on an assessment of relevant application proceedings), will have the new law applicable to them. Any submissions that have been filed or orders that have been looked for must be in accordance with the new laws.


If you or someone you know wishes to discuss this issue further, please do not hesitate to contact F&G on 02 8999 9809.

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