04 February 2019

Review of the Family Law system: Discussion paper

This discussion paper from the Australian Law Reform Commission outlines the key issues identified during the Review into the Family Law system and details 124 suggestions to improve the current system. The Inquiry specifically aims to address the appropriate, early and cost-effective resolution of family law disputes;  the protection of the best interests of children and their safety; families with complex needs, including where there is family violence, drug or alcohol addiction or serious mental illness;  whether the adversarial court system offers the best way to support the safety of families and resolve matters in the best interests of children; and the opportunities for less adversarial resolution of parenting and property disputes; the best ways to inform decision makers about the best interests of children and the views held by children in family disputes; and, improving the clarity and accessibility of the law. The discussion paper notes there is clearly a need to redevelop the family law system on a number of levels and suggests a public health approach to making the necessary changes. It also emphasises the importance of recognising that children are a key stakeholder;  their safety and wellbeing and appropriate participation should be prioritised; and they should be given a voice in decisions about parenting arrangements.