The Australian Law Reform Commission (“ALRC”) is currently calling for submissions from family law professionals and those with experience of the family law system. As such, Nicholes Family Lawyers is currently considering submissions regarding ways of improving the system whilst prioritising the wellbeing of children in a cost effective manner.
The review is the first independent comprehensive review since the inception of the Family Law Act more than 40 years ago. The terms of reference for the review recognise that much has changed in Australian social and family life since the creation of the contemporary family law system. Alongside significant changes in patterns of family life and the duration of couple relationships, increasing access to and use of reproductive technology means that families are formed in ways not anticipated when the Family Law Act was developed in 1975.
The review will consider the complex support needs of families who turn to the family law system beyond their legal issues, in addition to the questions raised about the affordability and accessibility of the system’s services, and about whether more needs to be done to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children is prioritised.
The ALRC is interested in hearing from stakeholders about a range of issues, including:
- ways of reducing the costs of services for families
- how to improve access to services for people from regional, rural and remote areas, and whether there needs to be better support for families in finding information about the family law system
- how to assist families who need multiple services to navigate these services
- the experiences of families who are involved with child protection and/or family violence services as well as the family law system and how their engagement with multiple systems might be improved
- ways of improving the system’s responses to families from diverse groups, including families from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds and people with a disability
- how to support children’s safe participation in family law processes
- what changes could be made to the Family Law Act to make it less complex and more readily understandable for people who need to use it
- ways of improving the system’s capacity to manage ongoing conflict and risks to children
- what changes to accreditation requirements and governance structures are needed to ensure high quality professional services and continuing improvements to the system.
Clients of Nicholes Family Law who wish to share their experience with the ALRC outside the formal submission process may do so via the “Tell us your story” portal via www.alrc.gov.au/content/tell-us-your-story. Unlike public submissions, these stories will not be published or made publicly available. They may, however, be subject to ‘freedom of information’ requests. Individuals should carefully consider terms of any order made by a court in relation to any proceeding they are providing information about. There is more information on the website.
The portal will close along with formal submissions on 7 May 2018.