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New Court

Friday 22nd of October 2021
By: Charlotte Geddes, Special Counsel, Coote Family Lawyers

You have been truly wonderful. You were always solid, attentive and supportive.  

From 1 September 2021, the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia merged into the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court).

The Court brings a new court structure, with the aim of a simplified and more cost-effective process.

There is an even greater emphasis on dispute resolution and there is an expectation that people will make genuine attempts to engage in dispute resolution (including prior to proceedings being issued) in an attempt to avoid the delay and the emotional and financial costs of litigation.  

The Court’s aim is to resolve up to 90% of cases within 12 months, with a new case management pathway as follows:


 FC&FCA diagram

The first court event will take place within 6 to 8 weeks of filing an application in the Court. When it is safe and appropriate to do so, parties will be required to attend a form of dispute resolution (such as mediation) within 6 months of filing their application. If the matter does not settle, the matter will be listed for Final Hearing which will commence within 12 months (where possible).

The Court has two divisions:

  1. Division 1 is a continuation of the old Family Court of Australia and deals with family law matters. 
  2. Division 2 is a continuation of the old Federal Circuit Court of Australia and deals with family law and general federal law matters.

If proceedings have already been issued in either the old Family Court or Federal Circuit Court, they will continue within the relevant Division 1 and Division 2.

Irrespective of whether the matter is listed in Division 1 or 2, the following core principles apply to all family law proceedings in the new Court:

  • Reduce unnecessary costs and acrimony;
  • Ensure the safety of families and children;
  • Facilitate the resolution of disputes as quickly, inexpensively and efficiently as possible.

The Court has an expectation that parties and lawyers conduct each matter in accordance with the core principles.

If you have any questions or need advice contact Melbourne's top family lawyers on 03 9804 0035.


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