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Legislation updates - Family Law Act and Court changes

Legislation update

The following updated legislation is now published:

1. Family Law Act 1975
The Family Law Act has been amended by the following Acts:

- Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support Scheme – New Formula and Other Measures) Act 2006
- Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment (Child Support Reform Consolidation and Other Measures) Act 2007
- Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Simplification) Act 2007
- Evidence Amendment (Journalists' Privilege) Act 2007.

2. Family Law Rules 2004
The Family Law Rules has been amended by the following select legislative instruments:

- Family Law Amendment Rules 2007 (No 1)
- Family Law Amendment Rules 2007 (No 2).
The Family Court of Australia has announced amendments to the Family Law Rules. The Family Law Amendment Rules 2007 (No 1) commenced on 5 July 2007 and (No 2) commenced on 8 August 2007. Many of the changes result from the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 and the Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support Scheme – New Formula & Other Measures) Act 2006. However, the changes are more widespread, covering forms, pre-action procedures, parenting disputes, child support, child maintenance, spousal maintenance, dispute resolution, delegation of power to Registrars, expert witnesses and costs.

The major changes to the Rules include:

1. Enabling parties to confer with a single expert witness to clarify a report
2. Catering for the commencement of changes arising from the child support and shared parental responsibility legislation
3. New forms to be introduced by the Chief Justice, in consultation with the judges, rather than by amending the Rules. Most existing forms are no longer part of the Rules, although they will still be used
4. Delegations to Deputy Registrars include the exercise of powers under s 60I(9), 60I(10) and 60J(1).
The Family Court of Australia has now made the new forms and brochures available but will continue to accept old forms until further notice. The new forms will be included in the next update of the Australian Family Law Handbook.

3. Family Law Regulations 1984
The Family Law Regulations has been amended by the following select legislative instruments:

- Family Law Amendment Regulations 2006 (No 2)
- Family Law Amendment Regulations 2007 (No 1)
- Family Law Amendment Regulations 2007 (No 2).
The purpose of the amendments is to update the Principal Regulations to reflect changes introduced by the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006. In particular, the Regulations:

1. establish the Family Dispute Resolution Register
2. introduce interim Accreditation Rules for family dispute resolution practitioners
3. prescribe information to be given to people prior to family dispute resolution
4. prescribe information to be provided by legal practitioners and courts under the Act
5. prescribe matters for the purpose of s 60I of the Family Law Act 1975, which requires a certificate from a family dispute resolution practitioner to be filed with an application for an order under Pt VII of the Act
6. make minor technical amendments to align the numbering of the regulations with the numeric order of the sections of the Act to which they relate.
For further information, please visit www.comlaw.gov.au.

4. Family Law (Superannuation) Regulations 2001
The Family Law (Superannuation) Regulations has been amended by:

- Family Law (Superannuation) Amendment Regulations 2007 (No 1).

5. Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994
The Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations has been amended by:

- Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Amendment Regulations 2007 (No 1)
- Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Amendment Regulations 2007 (No 2)
- Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Amendment Regulations 2007 (No 3)
- Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Modification Declaration (No 1 of 2007).

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