On 7 June 2012 changes to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) will take effect. These changes will provide better protection in family law cases where there is family violence and abuse.

The Family Violence Act

The Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 is part of the Government’s agenda to improve the family law system’s response to family violence and abuse.

The amendments:

  • remove disincentives to disclose family violence to the courts
  • update the definitions of family violence and child abuse to clearly set out what type of behaviour is unacceptable – such as physical and emotional abuse and the exposure of children to family violence, and
  • ensure appropriate action is taken to prioritise the safety of children in family law disputes.

These changes will put the safety of children front and centre in family law matters, without compromising a child’s right to a meaningful relationship with both parents where this is safe.

More information about the changes, including a fact sheet and frequently asked questions can be accessed on the Attorney-General’s website.

Updated court forms and publications

The following family law forms have been updated as a result of the above amendments.

  • Application for consent orders kit and form
  • Application for divorce kit
  • Divorce service kit
  • Initiating application kit and form
  • Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence, or Risk of Family Violence (Form 4)
  • Response to initiating application kit and form
  • Questionnaire – parenting
  • Acknowledgment – information from a family counsellor or family dispute resolution practitioner
  • Application for consent orders kit – parenting orders legislation

Related Information