What does the recent Federal Budget mean for family law?

This year’s Federal Budget included a number of plans for addressing issues surrounding family law?

For some time, family law courts have been under-resourced and not able to cope with the sheer number of matters which pass through the system. Further to this, there has been a lack of attention to the complexities of this specific area of law and the seriousness of matters which relate to family violence and abuse of children.

The 2017 Federal Budget included:

  • $12.7 million to establish Parent Management Hearings
  • $10.7 million for additional family consultants
  • $3.4 million for additional domestic violence units
  • $55.7 million for community legal centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services

These inclusions make up the budget’s $80 million in proposed funding for family law and family violence services.

What does this mean for family law?

With this funding boost, the Government will focus on employing additional family consultants. Family consultants prepare and deliver reports which help the courts make appropriate orders when deciding the living arrangements for children. Not only will this funding provide families with greater access to consultants, but it will help increase the courts’ ability to progress matters, further reducing the current burden on the family law system.

Less complicated family law matters will also be diverted through the newly introduced Parenting Management Hearings (PMH) system. This will allow self-represented parties much quicker access to a legal process, which avoids the need for bringing the matter before the court.  This is initially being trialled in the Paramatta registry.

Further plans for a review of the family law system

The Government have also included plans for a comprehensive review of the family law system within the 2017 Federal Budget. This comprehensive review will be the first of its kind and look at reviewing the current system and consideration of the resources required.

Free legal clinics in Brisbane CBD and DA Family Lawyers

DA Family Lawyers believe everyone should have access to justice and legal services. Although the recent budget proposes an increase in access to legal services, there is still a lack of access to legal advice for those people who do not qualify for legal aid and cannot afford ongoing legal advice during litigation.

DA Family Lawyers’ free legal clinics aim to give you an understanding of what your position may be, and provide you with suggested actions for you to take to help progress your matter to resolution. Appointments run for 30 minutes and take place monthly, commencing on Thursday July 6, 2017 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. Dates will be updated regularly, so check back for new dates as they are added.

To register you interest or to request a spot, fill out our simple registration form here!