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Key Changes to the Family Law Rules

As of 1 March 2018, the Family Law Rules will operate slightly differently, following the approval of amendments with the Family Law Rules Amendment (2018 Measures No.1) Rules 2018.  The changes have also been introduced to make the rules consistent with the recent changes to child support legislation.

Latest notable changes:

  • You will no longer be permitted to attach, or otherwise file exhibits and annexures to affidavits. Documents that are to be relied on must be referred to in the body of the affidavit and tendered, and these must be served on the other party in hard copy alongside the affidavit.
  • There will be two new ‘Notice of Risk’ forms, one for use in current cases, and another to be used with Applications for Consent Orders.  The previous form ‘Annexure to Proposed Consent Parenting Order’ will no longer be used.
  • You will no longer need to file a Superannuation Information Form with an Application for Consent Orders, so long as you provide an alternative document which shows the value of the superannuation interest to the Court, e.g. up-to-date member statement.
  • A new Submitting Notice will be used in circumstances where a party is served with an Initiating Application, Response, Reply or Notice of Appeal and they do not wish to challenge the orders sought. The party filing the notice must provide an address for service and state that they will submit to any order the Court may make.  They must also indicate if they want to be heard in respect of costs.
  • There will be a new Notice of Contention in appeals where the respondent to an appeal does not wish to cross-appeal, but instead seeks to have the Order affirmed on different grounds than those relied on by the Court at first instance.

Other changes include:

  • The delegated powers of Deputy Registrars’ will be increased to include making location orders, dismissing cases in certain situations and appointing case guardians;
  • You will now be able to produce a copy of a document in answer to a subpoena in any electronic form, so long as it is capable of being printed without loss of content;
  • If a copy of a current Family Violence Order is unavailable, it will no longer be necessary to file an undertaking in order to file it;
  • Multiple copies of consent orders no longer need to be filed if the orders are electronically filed;
  • “Safety concerns” will now be a factor for consideration in venue transfer applications;
  • Oral undertakings must now be recorded in writing and filed with the court. Any undertakings filed with the court to pay damages, is submitting to any order the Court might consider just in the circumstances;
  • Cost Assessment Orders will have the force and effect of a Court Order.

We recommend that you review the new rules and update your precedents and practices to reflect them. Otherwise, if you have any agency needs, please do not hesitate to contact our family law team to see how we can assist you.

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