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Family Law Courts filing for the period 2004-05 to 2012-13.

One of the goals of the 2006 amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 (FLA) was to help decrease the amount of litigation in the Family Law Courts and instead encourage parties to use non-court based mechanisms to resolve their disputes.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has released its figures on Family Law Courts filing for the period 2004–05 to 2012–13.

One of the goals of the 2006 amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 (FLA) was to help decrease the amount of litigation in the Family Law Courts and instead encourage parties to use non-court based mechanisms to resolve their disputes such as through mediation. The report sheds light on whether the amendments have, in fact, achieved this goal.

It also shows the impact of the 2009 amendments to the FLA which brought de facto couples under the FLA.

The key findings, according to the AIFS are:
 
  • Court filings in children’s matters in the 2012–13 reflect a 25% decrease on levels in 2004–05, the period prior to the 2006 family law reforms. The sharp decreases shown in the years just after the 2006 reforms have stabilised at this level.
  • In relation to filings in property matters, a 17% increase is evident nationally, reflecting the impact of the de facto property reforms in 2008 which shifted jurisdiction over de facto property matters from state and territory systems into the federal system.
  • The case-load distribution between the Family Court of Australia (FCA) and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCC) in 2012–13 stood at 86% for the FCC and 14% for the FCA.
The report can be found at http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/resreport30/index.html.

Source: Family law court filings 2004–05 to 2012–13, Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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