Changes to the Family Law Act

This week changes to the Family Law Act 1975 came into effect. These changes relate to parenting matters. There has been no changes to financial matters.

The major changes include:

  • Abolishing the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility;
  • Removing the requirement for the Court to consider whether whether equal time was in the children’s best interests if there was an order for equal shared parental responsibility;
  • Introducing new provisions about parental responsibility including:
    • that where safe to do so, parents are encouraged to consult with each other about major long term issues in relation to the child and have regard to the best interest of the child as paramount consideration;
    • where an order has been made for joint decision making, except where the order otherwise specifies requires the parties to consult each other in relation to such decisions and make a genuine effort to come to a joint decision
  • Introduced a shorter list of factors for the court to consider when determining parenting arrangements that are in the best interests of the children;
  • expanding the definitions of relative and family members in relation to Aboriginal and Torrest Strait Islander children.
  • Introducing a requirement for Independent Children’s Lawyers (where appointed in a matter) to meet with the children over 5 years old, in most circumstances.

To read more about the changes, please review the Attorney-General’s Department – Family Law Changes from May 2024 – Factsheet for parents and parties. This is also available in other languages.

If you need further advice about your parenting arrangements, we offer a fixed fee initial consultation.