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Family Law Act 1975

Authoritative Version
Act No. 53 of 1975 as amended, taking into account amendments up to Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2021
An Act relating to Marriage and to Divorce and Matrimonial Causes and, in relation thereto and otherwise, Parental Responsibility for Children, and to financial matters arising out of the breakdown of de facto relationships and to certain other Matters
Administered by: Attorney-General's; Social Services
Registered 10 Nov 2021
Start Date 01 Sep 2021

Commonwealth Coat of Arms of Australia

Family Law Act 1975

No. 53, 1975

Compilation No. 91

Compilation date:                              1 September 2021

Includes amendments up to:            Act No. 13, 2021

Registered:                                         10 November 2021

This compilation is in 2 volumes

Volume 1:       sections 1–90

Volume 2:       sections 90AA–125

                        Schedule

                        Endnotes

Each volume has its own contents

About this compilation

This compilation

This is a compilation of the Family Law Act 1975 that shows the text of the law as amended and in force on 1 September 2021 (the compilation date).

The notes at the end of this compilation (the endnotes) include information about amending laws and the amendment history of provisions of the compiled law.

Uncommenced amendments

The effect of uncommenced amendments is not shown in the text of the compiled law. Any uncommenced amendments affecting the law are accessible on the Legislation Register (www.legislation.gov.au). The details of amendments made up to, but not commenced at, the compilation date are underlined in the endnotes. For more information on any uncommenced amendments, see the series page on the Legislation Register for the compiled law.

Application, saving and transitional provisions for provisions and amendments

If the operation of a provision or amendment of the compiled law is affected by an application, saving or transitional provision that is not included in this compilation, details are included in the endnotes.

Editorial changes

For more information about any editorial changes made in this compilation, see the endnotes.

Modifications

If the compiled law is modified by another law, the compiled law operates as modified but the modification does not amend the text of the law. Accordingly, this compilation does not show the text of the compiled law as modified. For more information on any modifications, see the series page on the Legislation Register for the compiled law.

Self‑repealing provisions

If a provision of the compiled law has been repealed in accordance with a provision of the law, details are included in the endnotes.

  

  

  


Contents

Part I—Preliminary                                                                                                              1

1............................ Short title............................................................................ 1

2............................ Commencement.................................................................. 1

3............................ Repeal and saving............................................................... 1

4............................ Interpretation....................................................................... 2

4AA...................... De facto relationships....................................................... 31

4AB....................... Definition of family violence etc........................................ 32

4A......................... Third party proceedings to set aside financial agreement.. 33

4B.......................... Third party proceedings to set aside Part VIIIAB financial agreement     35

4C.......................... Meaning of proceeds of crime authority........................... 37

5............................ Debtor subject to a personal insolvency agreement........... 38

6............................ Polygamous marriages...................................................... 39

7............................ Extension of Act to certain Territories.............................. 39

7A......................... Application of the Criminal Code..................................... 39

8............................ Supersession of existing laws........................................... 39

Part IA—Protection of names                                                                                      40

9A......................... Use of protected names and symbols................................ 40

Part II—Non‑court based family services                                                             42

Division 1—Accreditation of family counsellors, family dispute resolution practitioners and other family service providers                                                                                42

10A....................... Accreditation Rules........................................................... 42

Division 2—Family counselling                                                                             44

10B........................ Definition of family counselling........................................ 44

10C........................ Definition of family counsellor......................................... 44

10D....................... Confidentiality of communications in family counselling. 45

10E........................ Admissibility of communications in family counselling and in referrals from family counselling           46

Division 3—Family dispute resolution                                                               48

10F........................ Definition of family dispute resolution............................. 48

10G....................... Definition of family dispute resolution practitioner.......... 48

10H....................... Confidentiality of communications in family dispute resolution               49

10J......................... Admissibility of communications in family dispute resolution and in referrals from family dispute resolution.......................................................................................... 50

10K........................ Family dispute resolution practitioners must comply with regulations     51

Division 4—Arbitration                                                                                             52

10L........................ Definition of arbitration................................................... 52

10M....................... Definition of arbitrator.................................................... 52

10N....................... Arbitrators may charge fees for their services................... 52

10P........................ Immunity of arbitrators..................................................... 53

Part IIA—Family safety risk screening                                                                  54

Division 1—Preliminary                                                                                            54

10Q....................... Simplified outline of this Part........................................... 54

10R........................ Definition of family safety risk screening person............. 54

10S........................ Definition of family safety risk screening information...... 54

10T........................ Definition of family safety risk screening process............ 55

Division 2—Protection of family safety risk screening information 57

10U....................... Confidentiality of family safety risk screening information 57

10V....................... Admissibility of family safety risk screening information etc. 59

10W....................... Immunity of family safety risk screening persons............ 60

Part III—Family consultants                                                                                         61

Division 1—About family consultants                                                                61

11A....................... Functions of family consultants........................................ 61

11B........................ Definition of family consultant......................................... 61

11C........................ Admissibility of communications with family consultants and referrals from family consultants            62

11D....................... Immunity of family consultants........................................ 63

Division 2—Courts’ use of family consultants                                              64

11E........................ Courts to consider seeking advice from family consultants 64

11F........................ Court may order parties to attend, or arrange for child to attend, appointments with a family consultant 65

11G....................... Consequences of failure to comply with order under section 11F            65

Part IIIA—Obligations to inform people about non‑court based family services and about court’s processes and services                                                                                    67

Division 1—Introduction                                                                                          67

12A....................... Objects of this Part........................................................... 67

Division 2—Kind of information to be provided                                          68

12B........................ Prescribed information about non‑court based family services and court’s processes and services         68

12C........................ Prescribed information about reconciliation...................... 68

12D....................... Prescribed information about Part VII proceedings.......... 68

Division 3—Who must provide information, and when                           70

12E........................ Obligations on legal practitioners...................................... 70

12F........................ Obligations on principal executive officers of courts........ 71

12G....................... Obligations on family counsellors, family dispute resolution practitioners and arbitrators       71

Part IIIB—Court’s powers in relation to court and non‑court based family services     73

Division 1—Introduction                                                                                          73

13A....................... Objects of this Part........................................................... 73

Division 2—Help with reconciliation                                                                  74

13B........................ Court to accommodate possible reconciliations................. 74

Division 3—Referrals to family counselling, family dispute resolution and other family services         75

13C........................ Court may refer parties to family counselling, family dispute resolution and other family services         75

13D....................... Consequences of failure to comply with order under section 13C           76

Division 4—Court’s role in relation to arbitration of disputes            77

13E........................ Court may refer Part VIII proceedings or Part VIIIAB proceedings to arbitration  77

13F........................ Court may make orders to facilitate arbitration of certain disputes           77

13G....................... Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) may determine questions of law referred by arbitrator........................................................................... 77

13H....................... Awards made in arbitration may be registered in court..... 78

13J......................... Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) can review registered awards      78

13K........................ Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia may set aside registered awards       79

Part V—Jurisdiction of courts                                                                                     80

Division 1—Jurisdiction in matrimonial causes                                           80

39.......................... Jurisdiction in matrimonial causes.................................... 80

Division 2—Jurisdiction in de facto financial causes                                 84

39A....................... Instituting proceedings...................................................... 84

39B........................ Jurisdiction in de facto financial causes............................ 85

39C........................ Ceasing jurisdiction of Supreme Court of the Northern Territory of Australia        85

39D....................... Ceasing jurisdiction of State or Territory courts of summary jurisdiction                86

39E........................ Revoking Proclamations ceasing jurisdiction of State or Territory courts                87

39F........................ Territory court does not have jurisdiction unless a party is ordinarily resident in the Territory                87

39G....................... Jurisdiction in relation to transferred matters under other Commonwealth laws      87

Division 3—Other provisions                                                                                 88

40.......................... Limitations on jurisdiction of Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) and of State and Territory Supreme Courts................................................. 88

41.......................... Establishment of State Family Courts............................... 89

42.......................... Law to be applied.............................................................. 91

43.......................... Principles to be applied by courts..................................... 92

44.......................... Institution of proceedings................................................. 92

44A....................... Proceedings for divorce order........................................... 97

45.......................... Stay and transfer of proceedings....................................... 97

45A....................... Summary decrees.............................................................. 99

46.......................... Transfer of proceedings from court of summary jurisdiction in certain cases          101

46A....................... Prescribing value of property for the purposes of section 46 103

47.......................... Courts to act in aid of each other..................................... 104

Division 4—Appeals                                                                                                  105

47A....................... Appeals from courts of summary jurisdiction................. 105

47B........................ Leave to appeal needed for child support matters............ 106

47C........................ Appeal may be dismissed if no reasonable prospect of success               107

47D....................... Appeals to High Court may not be brought.................... 108

47E........................ Regulations to be sole source of certain appellate jurisdiction  108

Part VI—Divorce and nullity of marriage                                                          109

48.......................... Divorce........................................................................... 109

49.......................... Meaning of separation.................................................... 109

50.......................... Effect of resumption of cohabitation............................... 109

51.......................... Nullity of marriage.......................................................... 110

52.......................... Court not to make divorce order where application for decree of nullity before it    110

53.......................... Circumstances occurring before commencement of Act or outside Australia           110

55.......................... When divorce order takes effect...................................... 110

55A....................... Divorce order where children......................................... 113

56.......................... Certificate as to divorce order......................................... 114

57.......................... Rescission of divorce order where parties reconciled..... 114

58.......................... Rescission of divorce order on ground of miscarriage of justice              114

59.......................... Re‑marriage.................................................................... 115

60.......................... No appeal after divorce order takes effect....................... 115

Part VII—Children                                                                                                           116

Division 1—Introductory                                                                                       116

Subdivision A—What this Division does                                                          116

60A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 116

Subdivision B—Object, principles and outline                                               116

60B........................ Objects of Part and principles underlying it.................... 116

60C........................ Outline of Part................................................................ 118

Subdivision BA—Best interests of the child: court proceedings                 122

60CA..................... Child’s best interests paramount consideration in making a parenting order            122

60CB..................... Proceedings to which Subdivision applies...................... 122

60CC..................... How a court determines what is in a child’s best interests 122

60CD..................... How the views of a child are expressed.......................... 125

60CE..................... Children not required to express views........................... 126

60CF..................... Informing court of relevant family violence orders......... 126

60CG..................... Court to consider risk of family violence........................ 126

60CH..................... Informing court of care arrangements under child welfare laws               127

60CI...................... Informing court of notifications to, and investigations by, prescribed State or Territory agencies           127

Subdivision BB—Best interests of the child: adviser’s obligations           128

60D....................... Adviser’s obligations in relation to best interests of the child  128

Subdivision C—Interpretation and application of Part                               129

60E........................ Application of Part to void marriages............................. 129

Subdivision D—Interpretation—how this Act applies to certain children 129

60EA..................... Definition of de facto partner......................................... 129

60F........................ Certain children are children of marriage etc................... 130

60G....................... Leave may be granted for adoption proceedings by prescribed adopting parent       130

60H....................... Children born as a result of artificial conception procedures 131

60HA.................... Children of de facto partners........................................... 132

60HB..................... Children born under surrogacy arrangements................. 133

Subdivision E—Family dispute resolution                                                      133

60I......................... Attending family dispute resolution before applying for Part VII order   133

60J......................... Family dispute resolution not attended because of child abuse or family violence   137

Division 2—Parental responsibility                                                                   139

61A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 139

61B........................ Meaning of parental responsibility................................. 139

61C........................ Each parent has parental responsibility (subject to court orders)              139

61D....................... Parenting orders and parental responsibility................... 140

61DA.................... Presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting orders               140

61DB..................... Application of presumption of equal shared parental responsibility after interim parenting order made   141

61E........................ Effect of adoption on parental responsibility................... 141

61F........................ Application to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children 141

Division 3—Reports relating to children under 18                                   143

62A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 143

62B........................ Court’s obligation to inform people to whom Part VII orders apply about family counselling, family dispute resolution and other family services................................ 143

62G....................... Reports by family consultants......................................... 143

Division 4—Parenting plans                                                                                  145

63A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 145

63B........................ Parents encouraged to reach agreement........................... 145

63C........................ Meaning of parenting plan and related terms................. 145

63CAA.................. Parenting plans may include child support provisions.... 147

63D....................... Parenting plan may be varied or revoked by further written agreement    148

63DA.................... Obligations of advisers................................................... 148

63DB..................... Registered parenting plans.............................................. 150

63E........................ Registration of a revocation of a registered parenting plan 151

63F........................ Child welfare provisions of registered parenting plans... 152

63G....................... Child maintenance provisions of registered parenting plans—where not enforceable as maintenance agreements...................................................................... 153

63H....................... Court’s powers to set aside, discharge, vary, suspend or revive registered parenting plans     154

Division 5—Parenting orders—what they are                                            156

64A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 156

64B........................ Meaning of parenting order and related terms............... 156

64C........................ Parenting orders may be made in favour of parents or other persons       158

64D....................... Parenting orders subject to later parenting plans............. 158

Division 6—Parenting orders other than child maintenance orders 160

Subdivision A—Introductory                                                                              160

65A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 160

65AA.................... Child’s best interests paramount consideration in making a parenting order            160

65B........................ Division does not apply to child maintenance orders...... 161

Subdivision B—Applying for and making parenting orders                      161

65C........................ Who may apply for a parenting order............................. 161

65D....................... Court’s power to make parenting order.......................... 161

65DAA................. Court to consider child spending equal time or substantial and significant time with each parent in certain circumstances.................................................................. 162

65DAB.................. Court to have regard to parenting plans.......................... 165

65DAC.................. Effect of parenting order that provides for shared parental responsibility                165

65DAE.................. No need to consult on issues that are not major long‑term issues            166

65DA.................... Parenting orders.............................................................. 166

65F........................ General requirements for counselling before parenting order made         167

65G....................... Special conditions for making parenting order about whom a child lives with or the allocation of parental responsibility by consent in favour of non‑parent........... 168

65H....................... Children who are 18 or over or who have married or entered de facto relationships                169

65J......................... Effect of adoption on parenting order............................. 169

65K........................ What happens when parenting order that deals with whom a child lives with does not make provision in relation to death of parent with whom child lives............ 170

65L........................ Family consultants may be required to supervise or assist compliance with parenting orders  170

65LA..................... Court may order attendance at a post‑separation parenting program        171

65LB..................... Conditions for providers of post‑separation parenting programs             171

Subdivision C—General obligations created by certain parenting orders 173

65M....................... General obligations created by parenting order that deals with whom a child lives with          173

65N....................... General obligations created by parenting order that deals with whom a child spends time with               173

65NA.................... General obligations created by parenting order that deals with whom a child communicates with           173

65P........................ General obligations created by parenting order that allocates parental responsibility                174

65Q....................... Court may issue warrant for arrest of alleged offender... 174

Subdivision D—Dealing with people who have been arrested                    175

65R........................ Situation to which Subdivision applies........................... 175

65S........................ Arrested person to be brought before a court.................. 175

65T........................ Obligation of court—where application before it to deal with contravention            176

65U....................... Obligation of court—where no application before it, but application before another court, to deal with contravention.................................................................. 176

65V....................... Obligation of court—where no application before any court to deal with contravention          177

65W....................... Applications heard as required by subsection 65T(2) or paragraph 65U(3)(b)        178

Subdivision E—Obligations under parenting orders relating to taking or sending children from Australia        178

65X....................... Interpretation................................................................... 178

65Y....................... Obligations if certain parenting orders have been made: taking or sending a child outside Australia       179

65YA.................... Obligations if certain parenting orders have been made: retaining a child outside Australia     180

65Z........................ Obligations if proceedings for the making of certain parenting orders are pending: taking or sending a child outside Australia............................................................. 181

65ZAA.................. Obligations if proceedings for the making of certain parenting orders are pending: retaining a child outside Australia......................................................................... 182

65ZA..................... Obligations of owners etc. of aircraft and vessels if certain parenting orders made 183

65ZB..................... Obligations of owners etc. of aircraft and vessels if proceedings for the making of certain parenting orders are pending........................................................................... 184

65ZC..................... General provisions applicable to sections 65ZA and 65ZB 186

65ZD..................... State or Territory laws stopping children leaving Australia not affected  186

65ZE...................... Extended geographical jurisdiction—category D............ 186

Division 7—Child maintenance orders                                                            187

Subdivision A—What this Division does                                                          187

66A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 187

Subdivision B—Objects and principles                                                             187

66B........................ Objects............................................................................ 187

66C........................ Principles—parents have primary duty to maintain......... 188

66D....................... Principles—when step‑parents have a duty to maintain.. 188

Subdivision C—Relationship with Child Support (Assessment) Act          189

66E........................ Child maintenance order not to be made etc. if application for administrative assessment of child support could be made........................................................................... 189

Subdivision D—Applying for and making child maintenance orders      189

66F........................ Who may apply for a child maintenance order................ 189

66G....................... Court’s power to make child maintenance order............. 190

66H....................... Approach to be taken in proceedings for child maintenance order           190

66J......................... Matters to be taken into account in considering financial support necessary for maintenance of child     190

66K........................ Matters to be taken into account in determining contribution that should be made by party etc.               191

66L........................ Children who are 18 or over........................................... 193

66M....................... When step‑parents have a duty to maintain..................... 194

66N....................... Determining financial contribution of step‑parent........... 194

Subdivision E—Other aspects of courts’ powers                                            195

66P........................ General powers of court................................................. 195

66Q....................... Urgent child maintenance orders..................................... 196

66R........................ Specification in orders of payments etc. for child maintenance purposes 196

66S........................ Modification of child maintenance orders....................... 197

Subdivision EA—Varying the maintenance of certain children                200

66SA..................... Varying the maintenance of certain children................... 200

Subdivision F—When child maintenance orders stop being in force       201

66T........................ Effect of child turning 18................................................ 201

66U....................... Effect of death of child, person liable to pay or person entitled to receive                201

66V....................... Effect of adoption, marriage or entering into a de facto relationship         202

66VA.................... Children who are 18 or over: change of circumstances... 203

66W....................... Recovery of arrears......................................................... 203

Subdivision G—Recovery of amounts paid under maintenance orders  204

66X....................... Recovery of amounts paid, and property transferred or settled, under maintenance orders      204

Division 8—Other matters relating to children                                          207

Subdivision A—What this Division does                                                          207

67A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 207

Subdivision B—Father’s liability to contribute towards child bearing expenses if not married to mother            207

67B........................ Father liable to contribute towards maintenance and expenses of mother 207

67C........................ Matters to be taken into account in proceedings under Subdivision         208

67D....................... Powers of court in proceedings under Subdivision........ 208

67E........................ Urgent orders.................................................................. 209

67F........................ Who may institute proceedings....................................... 210

67G....................... Time limit for institution of proceedings......................... 210

Subdivision C—Location and recovery of children                                      210

67J......................... Meaning of location order and Commonwealth information order         210

67K........................ Who may apply for a location order................................ 211

67L........................ Child’s best interests paramount consideration in making a location order              212

67M....................... Provisions about location orders, other than Commonwealth information orders    212

67N....................... Provisions about Commonwealth information orders..... 213

67P........................ Information provided under location order not to be disclosed except to limited persons        214

67Q....................... Meaning of recovery order............................................. 215

67R........................ How recovery orders authorise or direct people............. 217

67S........................ How recovery orders to stop and search etc. name or describe vehicles, places etc.                217

67T........................ Who may apply for a recovery order.............................. 218

67U....................... Court’s power to make recovery order........................... 218

67V....................... Child’s best interests paramount consideration in making a recovery order             218

67W....................... How long recovery order remains in force..................... 218

67X....................... Persons not to prevent or hinder taking of action under recovery order   219

67Y....................... Obligation to notify persons of child’s return................. 219

Subdivision D—Allegations of child abuse and family violence                220

67Z........................ Where interested person makes allegation of child abuse 220

67ZA..................... Where member of the Court personnel, family counsellor, family dispute resolution practitioner or arbitrator suspects child abuse etc.................................................. 221

67ZB..................... No liability for notification under section 67Z or 67ZA.. 222

67ZBA.................. Where interested person makes allegation of family violence.. 223

67ZBB................... Court to take prompt action in relation to allegations of child abuse or family violence           224

Subdivision E—Other orders about children                                                  225

67ZC..................... Orders relating to welfare of children............................. 225

67ZD..................... Orders for delivery of travel documents......................... 226

Division 9—Injunctions                                                                                           227

68A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 227

68B........................ Injunctions...................................................................... 227

68C........................ Powers of arrest.............................................................. 228

Division 10—Independent representation of child’s interests             229

68L........................ Court order for independent representation of child’s interests                229

68LA..................... Role of independent children’s lawyer............................ 230

68M....................... Order that child be made available for examination......... 232

Division 11—Family violence                                                                               233

68N....................... Purposes of this Division............................................... 233

68P........................ Obligations of court making an order or granting an injunction under this Act that is inconsistent with an existing family violence order......................................... 233

68Q....................... Relationship of order or injunction made under this Act with existing inconsistent family violence order........................................................................................ 235

68R........................ Power of court making a family violence order to revive, vary, discharge or suspend an existing order, injunction or arrangement under this Act........................ 236

68S........................ Application of Act and Rules when exercising section 68R power          238

68T........................ Special provisions relating to proceedings to make an interim (or interim variation of) family violence order........................................................................................ 239

Division 12—Proceedings and jurisdiction                                                   240

Subdivision A—What this Division does                                                          240

69A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 240

Subdivision B—Institution of proceedings and procedure                          240

69B........................ Certain proceedings to be instituted only under this Part 240

69C........................ Who may institute proceedings....................................... 240

69D....................... Institution of maintenance proceedings by authorised authority or person               241

69E........................ Child or parent to be present in Australia etc.................. 241

69F........................ Applicant may be in contempt......................................... 242

Subdivision C—Jurisdiction of courts                                                              242

69G....................... Interpretation................................................................... 242

69GA.................... Operation of this Subdivision in relation to prescribed courts  242

69H....................... Jurisdiction of Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2), State Family Courts and Northern Territory Supreme Court................................................. 244

69J......................... Jurisdiction of courts of summary jurisdiction................ 244

69K........................ Territory court does not have jurisdiction unless a party is ordinarily resident in the Territory                245

69L........................ Jurisdiction in relation to transferred matters under other Commonwealth laws      246

69M....................... Jurisdiction is additional to other jurisdiction.................. 246

69N....................... Transfer of proceedings from courts of summary jurisdiction in certain cases         246

Subdivision D—Presumptions of parentage                                                    248

69P........................ Presumptions of parentage arising from marriage........... 248

69Q....................... Presumption of paternity arising from cohabitation........ 248

69R........................ Presumption of parentage arising from registration of birth 249

69S........................ Presumptions of parentage arising from findings of courts 249

69T........................ Presumption of paternity arising from acknowledgments 250

69U....................... Rebuttal of presumptions etc........................................... 250

Subdivision E—Parentage evidence                                                                  251

69V....................... Evidence of parentage..................................................... 251

69VA.................... Declarations of parentage................................................ 251

69W....................... Orders for carrying out of parentage testing procedures. 251

69X....................... Orders associated with parentage testing orders............. 252

69XA.................... Matters related particularly to parentage testing for purposes of an international agreement or arrangement........................................................................................ 253

69Y....................... Orders directed to persons 18 or over............................. 253

69Z........................ Orders directed to children under 18............................... 254

69ZA..................... No liability if parent etc. consents................................... 254

69ZB..................... Regulations about carrying out, and reporting on, parentage testing procedures      255

69ZC..................... Reports of information obtained may be received in evidence  255

69ZD..................... Parentage testing for purposes of international maintenance agreements  255

Subdivision F—Extension, application and additional operation of Part 256

69ZE...................... Extension of Part to the States........................................ 256

69ZF...................... Unless declaration in force, Part’s extension to a State has effect subject to modifications      257

69ZG..................... Application of Part in, and in relation to, Territories....... 258

69ZH..................... Additional application of Part......................................... 258

69ZJ...................... Additional jurisdiction of courts..................................... 260

69ZK..................... Child welfare laws not affected....................................... 260

Subdivision G—Short form reasons for decisions relating to interim parenting orders             261

69ZL...................... Short form reasons for decisions relating to interim parenting orders      261

Division 12A—Principles for conducting child‑related proceedings 262

Subdivision A—Proceedings to which this Division applies                        262

69ZM.................... Proceedings to which this Division applies.................... 262

Subdivision B—Principles for conducting child‑related proceedings      263

69ZN..................... Principles for conducting child‑related proceedings........ 263

69ZO..................... This Division also applies to proceedings in Chambers.. 264

69ZP...................... Powers under this Division may be exercised on court’s own initiative  264

Subdivision C—Duties and powers related to giving effect to the principles  265

69ZQ..................... General duties................................................................. 265

69ZR..................... Power to make determinations, findings and orders at any stage of proceedings     266

69ZS...................... Use of family consultants............................................... 266

Subdivision D—Matters relating to evidence                                                  267

69ZT...................... Rules of evidence not to apply unless court decides....... 267

69ZV..................... Evidence of children....................................................... 268

69ZW.................... Evidence relating to child abuse or family violence......... 269

69ZX..................... Court’s general duties and powers relating to evidence.. 270

Division 13—State, Territory and overseas orders                                 273

Subdivision A—What this Division does                                                          273

70A....................... What this Division does.................................................. 273

Subdivision B—Registration of State and Territory orders                       273

70C........................ General registration of orders made under law of prescribed State          273

70D....................... Registration of orders in a particular State...................... 273

70E........................ Effect of registration....................................................... 273

Subdivision C—Registration of overseas orders                                           274

70G....................... Registration of orders..................................................... 274

70H....................... Effect of registration—general........................................ 274

70J......................... Effect of registration on exercise of jurisdiction.............. 274

70K........................ Cancellation of registration if Subdivision C parenting order made         275

70L........................ Relationship between Australian orders and registered overseas child orders          275

Subdivision D—Transmission of Australian orders to overseas jurisdictions               277

70M....................... Registry Manager to send documents etc. to overseas jurisdiction           277

70N....................... Regulations may deal with sending Australian orders etc. to overseas jurisdiction  278

Division 13A—Consequences of failure to comply with orders, and other obligations, that affect children                                                                                                                    279

Subdivision A—Preliminary                                                                               279

70NAA................. Simplified outline of Division......................................... 279

70NAB.................. Application of Division.................................................. 279

70NAC.................. Meaning of contravened an order................................... 280

70NAD................. Requirements taken to be included in certain orders....... 280

70NAE.................. Meaning of reasonable excuse for contravening an order 281

70NAF.................. Standard of proof............................................................ 283

Subdivision B—Court’s power to vary parenting order                              283

70NBA.................. Variation of parenting order............................................ 283

70NBB.................. Effect of parenting plan................................................... 284

Subdivision C—Contravention alleged but not established                         285

70NCA.................. Application of Subdivision............................................. 285

70NCB.................. Costs............................................................................... 285

Subdivision D—Contravention established but reasonable excuse for contravention 286

70NDA................. Application of Subdivision............................................. 286

70NDB.................. Order compensating person for time lost........................ 287

70NDC.................. Costs............................................................................... 287

Subdivision E—Contravention without reasonable excuse (less serious contravention)             288

70NEA.................. Application of Subdivision............................................. 288

70NEB.................. Powers of court.............................................................. 289

70NEC.................. Bonds............................................................................. 292

70NECA............... Procedure for enforcing bonds....................................... 293

70NED.................. Duties of provider of post‑separation parenting program 294

70NEF................... Evidence......................................................................... 294

70NEG.................. Court may make further orders in relation to attendance at program        295

Subdivision F—Contravention without reasonable excuse (more serious contravention)          295

70NFA.................. Application of Subdivision............................................. 295

70NFB.................. Powers of court.............................................................. 296

70NFC.................. When court is empowered to make a community service order                298

70NFD.................. Variation and discharge of community service orders.... 300

70NFE................... Bonds............................................................................. 300

70NFF................... Procedure for enforcing community service orders or bonds.. 301

70NFG.................. Sentences of imprisonment............................................. 302

70NFH.................. Relationship between Subdivision and other laws.......... 304

70NFI.................... Arrangements with States and Territories for carrying out of sentences and orders 304

70NFJ................... Subdivision does not limit operation of section 105....... 304

Division 14—Miscellaneous                                                                                   305

70P........................ What this Division does.................................................. 305

70Q....................... Certain instruments not liable to duty.............................. 305

Part VIII—Property, spousal maintenance and maintenance agreements             307

71.......................... Interpretation................................................................... 307

71A....................... This Part does not apply to certain matters covered by binding financial agreements               307

72.......................... Right of spouse to maintenance...................................... 307

74.......................... Power of court in spousal maintenance proceedings....... 308

75.......................... Matters to be taken into consideration in relation to spousal maintenance                310

77.......................... Urgent spousal maintenance cases.................................. 312

77A....................... Specification in orders of payments etc. for spouse maintenance purposes              312

78.......................... Declaration of interests in property................................. 313

79.......................... Alteration of property interests....................................... 313

79A....................... Setting aside of orders altering property interests........... 322

79B........................ Notification of proceeds of crime orders etc................... 325

79C........................ Court to stay property or spousal maintenance proceedings affected by proceeds of crime orders etc.    326

79D....................... Lifting a stay................................................................... 327

79E........................ Intervention by proceeds of crime authority.................... 327

79F........................ Notifying third parties about application......................... 328

79G....................... Notifying bankruptcy trustee etc. about application under section 74, 78, 79 or 79A              328

79H....................... Notifying court about bankruptcy etc.............................. 328

79J......................... Notifying non‑bankrupt spouse about application under section 139A of the Bankruptcy Act 1966        330

80.......................... General powers of court................................................. 331

81.......................... Duty of court to end financial relations........................... 332

82.......................... Cessation of spousal maintenance orders........................ 332

83.......................... Modification of spousal maintenance orders................... 333

85A....................... Ante‑nuptial and post‑nuptial settlements....................... 336

86A....................... Certain maintenance agreements ineffective.................... 336

86.......................... Registered maintenance agreements................................ 336

87.......................... Operation of maintenance agreements entered into in substitution for rights under Act           338

87A....................... Specification in maintenance agreements of payments etc. for maintenance purposes              343

88.......................... Enforcement of maintenance agreements........................ 344

89.......................... Overseas maintenance agreements.................................. 344

89A....................... Institution of spousal maintenance proceedings by authority or person   344

90.......................... Certain instruments not liable to duty.............................. 345


An Act relating to Marriage and to Divorce and Matrimonial Causes and, in relation thereto and otherwise, Parental Responsibility for Children, and to financial matters arising out of the breakdown of de facto relationships and to certain other Matters

Part IPreliminary

  

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Family Law Act 1975.

2  Commencement

                   This Act shall come into operation on a date to be fixed by Proclamation.

3  Repeal and saving

             (1)  The Matrimonial Causes Act 1959, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1965 and the Matrimonial Causes Act 1966 are repealed.

             (2)  Notwithstanding the repeal effected by subsection (1):

                     (a)  the validity of a decree made before the commencement of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959 by virtue of the Imperial Act entitled the Matrimonial Causes (War Marriages) Act, 1944 or Part I of the Matrimonial Causes (War Marriages) Act 1947 of New Zealand and in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall continue to be recognised in all courts in Australia;

                     (b)  a decree of the Supreme Court of a State or Territory made before the commencement of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959 in the exercise of jurisdiction invested or conferred by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1945, or that Act as amended by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1955, and in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall continue to have effect throughout Australia; and

                     (c)  a decree of the Supreme Court, or of a court of summary jurisdiction, of a State or Territory:

                              (i)  made before the commencement of this Act in the exercise of jurisdiction invested or conferred by the repealed Act, or in a matrimonial cause or proceedings for a separation order instituted under the law of that State or Territory, being a decree that was in force immediately before the commencement of this Act; or

                             (ii)  made after the commencement of this Act in proceedings to which subsection 9(1) applied;

                            shall have, or continue to have, effect throughout Australia, and, except in the case of:

                            (iii)  a decree of nullity of marriage made on the ground that the marriage was voidable;

                            (iv)  a decree of judicial separation;

                             (v)  a decree of restitution of conjugal rights;

                            (vi)  a decree of jactitation of marriage; or

                           (vii)  a separation order;

                            this Act applies to and in relation to the decree as if the decree had been made under this Act.

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph (2)(c), a purported decree to which section 5 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1971 applied made in a State shall be deemed to be a decree of the Supreme Court of that State made in the exercise of jurisdiction invested by the repealed Act.

4  Interpretation

             (1)  In this Act and the applicable Rules of Court:

Aboriginal child means a child who is a descendant of the Aboriginal people of Australia.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture in relation to a child:

                     (a)  means the culture of the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community or communities to which the child belongs; and

                     (b)  includes Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander lifestyle and traditions of that community or communities.

abuse, in relation to a child, means:

                     (a)  an assault, including a sexual assault, of the child; or

                     (b)  a person (the first person) involving the child in a sexual activity with the first person or another person in which the child is used, directly or indirectly, as a sexual object by the first person or the other person, and where there is unequal power in the relationship between the child and the first person; or

                     (c)  causing the child to suffer serious psychological harm, including (but not limited to) when that harm is caused by the child being subjected to, or exposed to, family violence; or

                     (d)  serious neglect of the child.

Accreditation Rules means regulations made under section 10A.

adopted, in relation to a child, means adopted under the law of any place (whether in or out of Australia) relating to the adoption of children.

alleged contravention, in Subdivision D of Division 6 of Part VII, means the alleged contravention because of which the alleged offender is arrested.

alleged offender, in Subdivision D of Division 6 of Part VII, means the person who is arrested.

applicable Rules of Court:

                     (a)  in relation to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1)—means the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) Rules; and

                     (b)  in relation to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2)—means the related Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) Rules; and

                     (c)  in relation to any other court—means the standard Rules of Court.

applicant includes a cross‑applicant and, in relation to proceedings for dissolution of marriage instituted before the commencement of this Act, includes a petitioner or cross‑petitioner.

applied provisions, when used in Division 13A of Part VII in relation to a community service order made under paragraph 70NFB(2)(a), means the provisions of the laws of a State or Territory (as modified by regulations made under subsection 70NFC(4)), that, because of regulations made under that subsection, apply in relation to the order.

appropriate authority, when used in Part VII in relation to a Commonwealth instrumentality, means a person:

                     (a)  who in, or in relation to, the instrumentality:

                              (i)  is an SES employee or acting SES employee; or

                             (ii)  holds an office or position that is at a level equivalent to that of an SES employee; or

                     (b)  who is authorised in writing by the principal officer of the instrumentality to provide information under Commonwealth information orders.

arbitration has the meaning given by section 10L.

arbitrator has the meaning given by section 10M.

arresting person means the person who arrests the alleged offender.

artificial conception procedure includes:

                     (a)  artificial insemination; and

                     (b)  the implantation of an embryo in the body of a woman.

audio link means facilities (for example, telephone facilities) that enable audio communication between persons in different places.

Australia includes Norfolk Island.

Australian court means a federal court or a court of a State or Territory.

bankrupt: see subsection (6).

bankruptcy trustee, in relation to a bankrupt, means the trustee of the bankrupt’s estate.

birth includes stillbirth.

breakdown:

                     (a)  in relation to a marriage, does not include a breakdown of the marriage by reason of death; and

                     (b)  in relation to a de facto relationship, does not include a breakdown of the relationship by reason of death.

captain, in relation to an aircraft or vessel, means the person in charge or command of the aircraft or vessel.

Chief Executive Officer means the Chief Executive Officer and Principal Registrar of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1).

child:

                     (a)  in Part VII, includes an adopted child and a stillborn child; and

                     (b)  in Subdivision E of Division 6 of that Part, means a person who is under 18 (including a person who is an adopted child).

child: Subdivision D of Division 1 of Part VII affects the situations in which a child is a child of a person or is a child of a marriage or other relationship.

Note:          In determining if a child is the child of a person within the meaning of this Act, it is to be assumed that Part VII extends to all States and Territories.

childbirth maintenance period, in relation to the birth of a child, means the period that begins on the day mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) and ends 3 months after the child’s birth:

                     (a)  if the mother:

                              (i)  works in paid employment; and

                             (ii)  is advised by a medical practitioner to stop working for medical reasons related to her pregnancy; and

                            (iii)  stops working after being so advised and more than 2 months before the child is due to be born;

                            the period begins on the day on which she stops working; or

                     (b)  in any other case—the period begins on the day that is 2 months before the child is due to be born.

child maintenance order has the meaning given by subsection 64B(5).

child maintenance provisions, in relation to a parenting plan, has the meaning given by subsection 63C(5).

child of a marriage has a meaning affected by subsections 60F(1), (2), (3) and (4).

child‑related proceedings has the meaning given by section 69ZM.

child welfare law means a law of a State or Territory prescribed, or included in a class of laws of a State or Territory prescribed, for the purposes of this definition.

child welfare officer, in relation to a State or Territory, means:

                     (a)  a person who, because he or she holds, or performs the duties of, a prescribed office of the State or Territory, has responsibilities in relation to a child welfare law of the State or Territory; or

                     (b)  a person authorised in writing by such a person for the purposes of Part VII.

child welfare provisions, in relation to a parenting plan, has the meaning given by subsection 63C(4).

Commonwealth information order has the meaning given by subsection 67J(2).

Commonwealth instrumentality means a body or authority established for a public purpose by or under a law of the Commonwealth.

community service order has the meaning given by subsection 70NFC(3).

contravened an order, in Division 13A of Part VII, has the meaning given by section 70NAC.

conveyance includes a vehicle, a vessel and an aircraft.

court, in relation to any proceedings, means the court exercising jurisdiction in those proceedings by virtue of this Act, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021, the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 or the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988.

CSC (short for Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation) has the same meaning as in the Governance of Australian Government Superannuation Schemes Act 2011.

debtor subject to a personal insolvency agreement has the meaning given by section 5.

decree means decree, judgment or order and includes:

                     (a)  an order dismissing an application; or

                     (b)  a refusal to make a decree or order.

de facto financial cause means:

                     (a)  proceedings between the parties to a de facto relationship with respect to the maintenance of one of them after the breakdown of their de facto relationship; or

                     (b)  proceedings between:

                              (i)  a party to a de facto relationship; and

                             (ii)  the bankruptcy trustee of a bankrupt party to the de facto relationship;

                            with respect to the maintenance of the first‑mentioned party after the breakdown of the de facto relationship; or

                     (c)  proceedings between the parties to a de facto relationship with respect to the distribution, after the breakdown of the de facto relationship, of the property of the parties or either of them; or

                     (d)  proceedings between:

                              (i)  a party to a de facto relationship; and

                             (ii)  the bankruptcy trustee of a bankrupt party to the de facto relationship;

                            with respect to the distribution, after the breakdown of the de facto relationship, of any vested bankruptcy property in relation to the bankrupt party; or

                     (e)  without limiting any of the preceding paragraphs, proceedings with respect to a Part VIIIAB financial agreement that are between any combination of:

                              (i)  the parties to that agreement; and

                             (ii)  the legal personal representatives of any of those parties who have died;

                            (including a combination consisting solely of parties or consisting solely of representatives); or

                      (f)  third party proceedings (as defined in section 4B) to set aside a Part VIIIAB financial agreement; or

                     (g)  any other proceedings (including proceedings with respect to the enforcement of a decree or the service of process) in relation to concurrent, pending or completed proceedings of a kind referred to in any of the preceding paragraphs.

de facto property settlement or maintenance proceedings means proceedings with respect to:

                     (a)  the distribution of the property of the parties to a de facto relationship or of either of them; or

                     (b)  the distribution of the vested bankruptcy property in relation to a bankrupt party to a de facto relationship; or

                     (c)  the maintenance of a party to a de facto relationship.

de facto relationship has the meaning given by section 4AA.

Department, in Subdivision C of Division 8 of Part VII, means a Department of State of the Commonwealth.

distribute:

                     (a)  in relation to:

                              (i)  property, and financial resources, of the parties to a de facto relationship or either of them; or

                             (ii)  vested bankruptcy property in relation to a bankrupt party to a de facto relationship;

                            includes conferring rights or obligations in relation to the property or financial resources; and

                     (b)  in relation to a Part VIIIAB financial agreement, has a meaning affected by subsection 90UI(3).

divorce means the termination of a marriage otherwise than by the death of a party to the marriage.

Note:          Annulment does not involve the termination of a marriage but simply a declaration that a purported marriage is in fact void.

divorce or validity of marriage proceedings means:

                     (a)  proceedings between the parties to a marriage, or by the parties to a marriage, for:

                              (i)  a divorce order in relation to the marriage; or

                             (ii)  a decree of nullity of marriage; or

                     (b)  proceedings for a declaration as to the validity of:

                              (i)  a marriage; or

                             (ii)  a divorce; or

                            (iii)  the annulment of a marriage;

                            by decree or otherwise.

dwelling house includes a conveyance, or a room in accommodation, in which people ordinarily retire for the night.

education includes apprenticeship or vocational training.

excluded order means:

                     (a)  an interim order; or

                     (b)  an order made in favour of a person where:

                              (i)  the order was made on the application of the person; and

                             (ii)  notice of making the application was not served on any other person; and

                            (iii)  no other person appeared at the hearing of the application.

exposed to family violence, in relation to a child, has the meaning given by subsection 4AB(3).

family consultant has the meaning given by section 11B.

family counselling has the meaning given by section 10B.

family counsellor has the meaning given by section 10C.

family dispute resolution has the meaning given by section 10F.

family dispute resolution practitioner has the meaning given by section 10G.

Family Law Magistrate of Western Australia means a person who holds office concurrently:

                     (a)  as a magistrate under the Magistrates Court Act 2004 of Western Australia; and

                     (b)  as the Principal Registrar, or as a Registrar, of the Family Court of Western Australia.

family safety risk screening information has the meaning given by section 10S.

family safety risk screening person has the meaning given by section 10R.

family safety risk screening process has the meaning given by section 10T.

family violence has the meaning given by subsection 4AB(1).

family violence order means an order (including an interim order) made under a prescribed law of a State or Territory to protect a person from family violence.

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia means:

                     (a)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1); or

                     (b)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2).

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) Rules means the Rules of Court made under Chapter 3 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021.

financial agreement means an agreement that is a financial agreement under section 90B, 90C or 90D, but does not include an ante‑nuptial or post‑nuptial settlement to which section 85A applies.

financial matters means:

                     (a)  in relation to the parties to a marriage—matters with respect to:

                              (i)  the maintenance of one of the parties; or

                             (ii)  the property of those parties or of either of them; or

                            (iii)  the maintenance of children of the marriage; or

                     (b)  in relation to the parties to a de facto relationship—any or all of the following matters:

                              (i)  the maintenance of one of the parties;

                             (ii)  the distribution of the property of the parties or of either of them;

                            (iii)  the distribution of any other financial resources of the parties or of either of them.

financial or Part VII proceedings means proceedings (being, unless the context otherwise requires, proceedings under this Act) of a kind referred to in any of paragraphs (c) to (eb) of the definition of matrimonial cause in this subsection or proceedings under Part VII.

forfeiture application means an application for a forfeiture order.

forfeiture order means:

                     (a)  a forfeiture order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; or

                     (b)  an order that is made under a State or Territory proceeds of crime law and that is of a kind declared by the regulations to be a forfeiture order for the purposes of this paragraph.

freezing order means:

                     (a)  a freezing order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; or

                     (b)  an order that is made under a State or Territory proceeds of crime law and that is of a kind declared by the regulations to be a freezing order for the purposes of this paragraph.

guardian, when used in Part VII in relation to a child, includes a person who has been granted (whether alone or jointly with another person or other persons) guardianship of the child under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory.

income tested pension, allowance or benefit means a pension, allowance or benefit prescribed, or included in a class of pensions, allowances or benefits prescribed, for the purposes of this definition.

independent children’s lawyer for a child means a lawyer who represents the child’s interests in proceedings under an appointment made under a court order under subsection 68L(2).

information about the child’s location, in the context of a location order made or to be made by a court in relation to a child, means information about:

                     (a)  where the child is; or

                     (b)  where a person, who the court has reasonable cause to believe has the child, is.

interests, when used in Part VII in relation to a child, includes matters related to the care, welfare or development of the child.

lawyer means a person enrolled as a legal practitioner of:

                     (a)  a federal court; or

                     (b)  the Supreme Court of a State or Territory.

location order has the meaning given by subsection 67J(1).

made, in relation to a decree, being a judgment, means given.

made in favour, in relation to a parenting order (other than a child maintenance order), has the meaning given by subsection 64B(6).

maintenance agreement means an agreement in writing made, whether before or after the commencement of this Act and whether within or outside Australia, between the parties to a marriage, being an agreement that makes provision with respect to financial matters, whether or not there are other parties to the agreement and whether or not it also makes provision with respect to other matters, and includes such an agreement that varies an earlier maintenance agreement.

major long‑term issues, in relation to a child, means issues about the care, welfare and development of the child of a long‑term nature and includes (but is not limited to) issues of that nature about:

                     (a)  the child’s education (both current and future); and

                     (b)  the child’s religious and cultural upbringing; and

                     (c)  the child’s health; and

                     (d)  the child’s name; and

                     (e)  changes to the child’s living arrangements that make it significantly more difficult for the child to spend time with a parent.

To avoid doubt, a decision by a parent of a child to form a relationship with a new partner is not, of itself, a major long‑term issue in relation to the child. However, the decision will involve a major long‑term issue if, for example, the relationship with the new partner involves the parent moving to another area and the move will make it significantly more difficult for the child to spend time with the other parent.

matrimonial cause means:

                     (a)  proceedings between the parties to a marriage, or by the parties to a marriage, for:

                              (i)  a divorce order in relation to the marriage; or

                             (ii)  a decree of nullity of marriage; or

                     (b)  proceedings for a declaration as to the validity of:

                              (i)  a marriage; or

                             (ii)  a divorce; or

                            (iii)  the annulment of a marriage;

                            by decree or otherwise; or

                     (c)  proceedings between the parties to a marriage with respect to the maintenance of one of the parties to the marriage; or

                  (caa)  proceedings between:

                              (i)  a party to a marriage; and

                             (ii)  the bankruptcy trustee of a bankrupt party to the marriage;

                            with respect to the maintenance of the first‑mentioned party; or

                    (ca)  proceedings between the parties to a marriage with respect to the property of the parties to the marriage or either of them, being proceedings:

                              (i)  arising out of the marital relationship;

                             (ii)  in relation to concurrent, pending or completed divorce or validity of marriage proceedings between those parties; or

                            (iii)  in relation to the divorce of the parties to that marriage, the annulment of that marriage or the legal separation of the parties to that marriage, being a divorce, annulment or legal separation effected in accordance with the law of an overseas jurisdiction, where that divorce, annulment or legal separation is recognised as valid in Australia under section 104; or

                   (cb)  proceedings between:

                              (i)  a party to a marriage; and

                             (ii)  the bankruptcy trustee of a bankrupt party to the marriage;

                            with respect to any vested bankruptcy property in relation to the bankrupt party, being proceedings:

                            (iii)  arising out of the marital relationship; or

                            (iv)  in relation to concurrent, pending or completed divorce or validity of marriage proceedings between the parties to the marriage; or

                             (v)  in relation to the divorce of the parties to the marriage, the annulment of the marriage or the legal separation of the parties to the marriage, being a divorce, annulment or legal separation effected in accordance with the law of an overseas jurisdiction, where that divorce, annulment or legal separation is recognised as valid in Australia under section 104; or

                     (d)  proceedings between the parties to a marriage for the approval by a court of a maintenance agreement or for the revocation of such an approval or for the registration of a maintenance agreement; or

                     (e)  proceedings between the parties to a marriage for an order or injunction in circumstances arising out of the marital relationship (other than proceedings under a law of a State or Territory prescribed for the purposes of section 114AB); or

                    (ea)  proceedings between:

                              (i)  the parties to a marriage; or

                             (ii)  if one of the parties to a marriage has died—the other party to the marriage and the legal personal representative of the deceased party to the marriage;

                            being proceedings:

                            (iii)  for the enforcement of, or otherwise in relation to, a maintenance agreement that has been approved under section 87 and the approval of which has not been revoked;

                            (iv)  in relation to a maintenance agreement the approval of which under section 87 has been revoked; or

                             (v)  with respect to the enforcement under this Act or the applicable Rules of Court of a maintenance agreement that is registered in a court under section 86 or an overseas maintenance agreement that is registered in a court under regulations made pursuant to section 89; or

                  (eaa)  without limiting any of the preceding paragraphs, proceedings with respect to a financial agreement that are between any combination of:

                              (i)  the parties to that agreement; and

                             (ii)  the legal personal representatives of any of those parties who have died;

                            (including a combination consisting solely of parties or consisting solely of representatives); or

                  (eab)  third party proceedings (as defined in section 4A) to set aside a financial agreement; or

                   (eb)  proceedings with respect to the enforcement of a decree made under the law of an overseas jurisdiction in proceedings of a kind referred to in paragraph (c); or

                      (f)  any other proceedings (including proceedings with respect to the enforcement of a decree or the service of process) in relation to concurrent, pending or completed proceedings of a kind referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (eb), including proceedings of such a kind pending at, or completed before, the commencement of this Act.

medical expenses includes medical, surgical, dental, diagnostic, hospital, nursing, pharmaceutical and physiotherapy expenses.

medical practitioner means a person registered or licensed as a medical practitioner under a law of a State or Territory that provides for the registration or licensing of medical practitioners.

member of the family has the meaning given by subsection (1AB).

Note:          The definition in subsection (1AB) applies for the purposes of the provisions specified in that subsection.

non‑referring State de facto financial law means a law that:

                     (a)  is a law of a State that is not a participating jurisdiction; and

                     (b)  relates to financial matters relating to the parties to de facto relationships arising out of the breakdown of those de facto relationships.

order under this Act affecting children, in relation to a court, means:

                     (a)  a parenting order; or

                     (b)  an injunction granted by the court:

                              (i)  under section 68B; or

                             (ii)  under section 114 in so far as the injunction is for the protection of a child; or

                     (c)  an undertaking given to, and accepted by, the court:

                              (i)  that relates to, or to the making of, an order or injunction referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) or a community service order referred to in paragraph (f); or

                             (ii)  that relates to a bond referred to in paragraph (g); or

                     (d)  a subpoena issued under the applicable Rules of Court:

                              (i)  that relates to, or to the making of, an order or injunction referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) or a community service order referred to in paragraph (f); or

                             (ii)  that relates to a bond referred to in paragraph (g);

                            being a subpoena issued to a party to the proceedings for the order, injunction or bond, as the case may be; or

                     (e)  a registered parenting plan within the meaning of subsection 63C(6); or

                      (f)  a community service order made under paragraph 70NFB(2)(a); or

                     (g)  a bond entered into:

                              (i)  under a parenting order; or

                             (ii)  under paragraph 70NFB(2)(b); or

                            (iii)  for the purposes of subsection 70NFG(6);

                            and includes an order, injunction, plan or bond that:

                     (h)  is an order under this Act affecting children made by another court because of paragraph (a), (b), (e) or (g); and

                      (i)  has been registered in the first‑mentioned court.

ordinarily resident includes habitually resident.

overseas child order means:

                     (a)  an order made by a court of a prescribed overseas jurisdiction that:

                              (i)  however it is expressed, has the effect of determining the person or persons with whom a child who is under 18 is to live, or that provides for a person or persons to have custody of a child who is under 18; or

                             (ii)  however it is expressed, has the effect of providing for a person or persons to spend time with a child who is under 18; or

                            (iii)  however it is expressed, has the effect of providing for contact between a child who is under 18 and another person or persons, or that provides for a person or persons to have access to a child who is under 18; or

                            (iv)  varies or discharges an order of the kind referred to in subparagraph (i), (ii) or (iii), including an order of that kind made under this Act; or

                     (b)  an order made for the purposes of the Convention referred to in section 111B by a judicial or administrative authority of a convention country (within the meaning of the regulations made for the purposes of that section).

overseas jurisdiction means a country, or part of a country, outside Australia.

overseas maintenance agreement means a maintenance agreement that has force and effect in a prescribed overseas jurisdiction by reason of the registration of the agreement, or the taking of any other action in relation to the agreement, under the law of that jurisdiction and includes an agreement with respect to the maintenance of an ex‑nuptial child that would be covered by the foregoing provisions of this definition if the child were a child of the marriage of the parties to the agreement.

parent, when used in Part VII in relation to a child who has been adopted, means an adoptive parent of the child.

parentage testing order has the meaning given by subsection 69W(1).

parentage testing procedure means a medical procedure prescribed, or included in a class of medical procedures prescribed, for the purposes of this definition.

parental responsibility, in Part VII, has the meaning given by section 61B.

parenting order has the meaning given by subsection 64B(1).

parenting plan has the meaning given by subsection 63C(1).

participating jurisdiction has the meaning given by subsection 90RA(1).

Part VIIIAB financial agreement means an agreement:

                     (a)  made under section 90UB, 90UC or 90UD; or

                     (b)  covered by section 90UE.

Part VIIIAB proceedings means:

                     (a)  proceedings under Part VIIIAB for orders with respect to:

                              (i)  the maintenance of a party to a de facto relationship; or

                             (ii)  the property of the parties to a de facto relationship or of either of them; or

                     (b)  proceedings in relation to a Part VIIIAB financial agreement;

but does not include any proceedings specified in the regulations for the purposes of this definition.

Part VIIIAB termination agreement means an agreement made under paragraph 90UL(1)(b).

Part VIIIA proceedings means proceedings in relation to a financial agreement.

Part VIIIB proceedings means:

                     (a)  proceedings in relation to a superannuation agreement (within the meaning of Part VIIIB); or

                     (b)  proceedings in relation to a payment split or payment flag (within the meaning of that Part); or

                     (c)  any other proceedings under that Part.

Part VIII proceedings means proceedings under Part VIII for orders with respect to spousal maintenance or the property of parties to a marriage, but does not include any proceedings specified in the regulations for the purposes of this definition.

party to a de facto relationship means a person who lives or has lived in a de facto relationship.

pending, in Subdivision E of Division 6 of Part VII, has a meaning affected by section 65X.

personal insolvency agreement has the same meaning as in the Bankruptcy Act 1966.

police officer means:

                     (a)  a member or special member of the Australian Federal Police; or

                     (b)  a member, however described, of the police force of a State or Territory.

post‑separation parenting program means a program:

                     (a)  that is designed to help people to resolve problems that adversely affect the carrying out of their parenting responsibilities (including by providing counselling services or by teaching techniques to resolve disputes); and

                     (b)  that consists of lectures, discussions (including group discussions) or other activities; and

                     (c)  that is provided by an organisation that meets the conditions in section 65LB.

prescribed adopting parent, in relation to a child, means:

                     (a)  a parent of the child; or

                     (b)  the spouse of, or a person in a de facto relationship with, a parent of the child; or

                     (c)  a parent of the child and either his or her spouse or a person in a de facto relationship with the parent.

prescribed child welfare authority, in relation to abuse of a child, means:

                     (a)  if the child is the subject of proceedings under Part VII in a State or Territory—an officer of the State or Territory who is responsible for the administration of the child welfare laws of the State or Territory, or some other prescribed person; or

                     (b)  if the child is not the subject of proceedings under Part VII—an officer of the State or Territory in which the child is located or is believed to be located who is responsible for the administration of the child welfare laws of the State or Territory, or some other prescribed person.

prescribed overseas jurisdiction means any country, or part of a country, outside Australia that is declared by the regulations to be a prescribed overseas jurisdiction for the purposes of the provision in which the expression is used.

prescribed proceedings means:

                     (a)  divorce or validity of marriage proceedings; or

                     (b)  proceedings in relation to concurrent, pending or completed divorce or validity of marriage proceedings.

primary order means an order under this Act affecting children and includes such order as varied.

principal officer, when used in Subdivision C of Division 8 of Part VII in relation to a Commonwealth instrumentality, means:

                     (a)  if the regulations declare an office to be the principal office in respect of the instrumentality—the person holding, or performing the duties of, that office; or

                     (b)  the person who constitutes the instrumentality or who is entitled to preside at any meeting of the instrumentality, or of its governing body, at which the person is present.

proceedings means a proceeding in a court, whether between parties or not, and includes cross‑proceedings or an incidental proceeding in the course of or in connexion with a proceeding.

proceedings for principal relief means proceedings under this Act of a kind referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) of the definition of matrimonial cause in this subsection.

proceeds of crime authority has the meaning given by section 4C.

Note:          Section 4C provides for different proceeds of crime authorities in relation to orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and State or Territory proceeds of crime laws.

proceeds of crime order means:

                    (aa)  a freezing order; or

                     (a)  a restraining order; or

                     (b)  a forfeiture order.

professional ethics includes:

                     (a)  rules of professional conduct; and

                     (b)  rules of professional etiquette; and

                     (c)  a code of ethics; and

                     (d)  standards of professional conduct.

property means:

                     (a)  in relation to the parties to a marriage or either of them—means property to which those parties are, or that party is, as the case may be, entitled, whether in possession or reversion; or

                     (b)  in relation to the parties to a de facto relationship or either of them—means property to which those parties are, or that party is, as the case may be, entitled, whether in possession or reversion.

property settlement or spousal maintenance proceedings means proceedings with respect to:

                     (a)  the property of the parties to a marriage or either of them; or

                    (aa)  the vested bankruptcy property in relation to a bankrupt party to a marriage; or

                     (b)  the maintenance of a party to a marriage.

property settlement proceedings means:

                     (a)  in relation to the parties to a marriage—proceedings with respect to:

                              (i)  the property of the parties or either of them; or

                             (ii)  the vested bankruptcy property in relation to a bankrupt party to the marriage; or

                     (b)  in relation to the parties to a de facto relationship—proceedings with respect to:

                              (i)  the property of the parties or either of them; or

                             (ii)  the vested bankruptcy property in relation to a bankrupt party to the de facto relationship.

reasonable excuse for contravening an order includes the meanings given by section 70NAE.

recovery order has the meaning given by section 67Q.

referring State has the meaning given by subsections 90RA(2), (3), (4) and (5).

Registrar means:

                     (a)  in relation to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1)—a Senior Registrar or Registrar of the Court; or

                     (b)  in relation to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2)—a Senior Registrar or Registrar of the Court; or

                     (c)  in relation to any other court—the principal legal officer of the court or any other appropriate officer of the court.

Registry Manager:

                     (a)  in relation to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1), means a Registry Manager of the Court; and

                     (b)  in relation to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2), means a Registry Manager of the Court; and

                     (c)  in relation to any other court, means the principal officer of the court or any other appropriate officer or staff member of the court.

related Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) Rules means the Rules of Court made under Chapter 4 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 to the extent to which they relate to this Act.

relative of a child:

                     (a)  in Part VII, means:

                              (i)  a step‑parent of the child; or

                             (ii)  a brother, sister, half‑brother, half‑sister, step‑brother or step‑sister of the child; or

                            (iii)  a grandparent of the child; or

                            (iv)  an uncle or aunt of the child; or

                             (v)  a nephew or niece of the child; or

                            (vi)  a cousin of the child; and

                     (b)  in subsection (1AB), has the meaning given by subsection (1AC).

relevant property or financial arbitration has the meaning given by subsection 10L(2).

repealed Act means the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959.

restraining order means:

                     (a)  a restraining order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; or

                     (b)  an order that is made under a State or Territory proceeds of crime law and that is of a kind declared by the regulations to be a restraining order for the purposes of this paragraph.

section 13E arbitration has the meaning given by subsection 10L(2).

section 69GA proceedings has the meaning given by subsection 69GA(2).

section 90RD declaration means a declaration under subsection 90RD(1).

section 106A proceedings means proceedings under section 106A.

separation order means a decree, not being a decree of dissolution or nullity of marriage or for a judicial separation, having the effect of relieving a party to a marriage from any obligation to cohabit with the other party to the marriage.

spouse party means:

                     (a)  in relation to a financial agreement—a party to the agreement who is a party to the contemplated marriage, marriage or former marriage to which the agreement relates; or

                    (aa)  in relation to a termination agreement referred to in paragraph 90J(1)(b)—a party covered by paragraph (a) of this definition in relation to the financial agreement concerned; or

                     (b)  in relation to a Part VIIIAB financial agreement—a party to the agreement who is a party to the contemplated de facto relationship, de facto relationship or former de facto relationship to which the agreement relates; or

                     (c)  in relation to a Part VIIIAB termination agreement—a party covered by paragraph (b) of this definition in relation to the Part VIIIAB financial agreement concerned.

standard Rules of Court means Rules of Court made under this Act.

State, in Subdivision B of Division 13 of Part VII, includes a Territory.

State child order means an order made under the law of a State:

                     (a)  that (however it is expressed) has the effect of determining the person or persons with whom a child who is under 18 is to live, or that provides for a person or persons to have custody of a child who is under 18; or

                     (b)  that (however it is expressed) has the effect of providing for a person or persons to spend time with a child who is under 18; or

                     (c)  that (however it is expressed) has the effect of providing for contact between a child who is under 18 and another person or persons, or that provides for a person or persons to have access to a child who is under 18.

State or Territory proceeds of crime law means a law in force in a State or Territory that is declared by the regulations to be a law that corresponds to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

step‑parent, in relation to a child, means a person who:

                     (a)  is not a parent of the child; and

                     (b)  is, or has been, married to or a de facto partner (within the meaning of section 60EA) of, a parent of the child; and

                     (c)  treats, or at any time while married to, or a de facto partner of, the parent treated, the child as a member of the family formed with the parent.

Subdivision C parenting order, when used in Division 13 of Part VII, means a parenting order to the extent to which it deals with:

                     (a)  whom a child is to live with; or

                     (b)  whom a child is to spend time with; or

                     (c)  who is to be responsible for a child’s day‑to‑day care, welfare and development.

Territory includes:

                     (a)  Norfolk Island;

                     (b)  the Territory of Christmas Island;

                     (c)  the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands;

but does not include any other external Territory.

third party, in relation to a financial agreement or Part VIIIAB financial agreement, means a party to the agreement who is not a spouse party.

this Act includes the regulations.

Torres Strait Islander child means a child who is a descendant of the Indigenous inhabitants of the Torres Strait Islands.

trustee, in relation to a personal insolvency agreement, has the same meaning as in the Bankruptcy Act 1966.

vested bankruptcy property, in relation to a bankrupt, means property of the bankrupt that has vested in the bankruptcy trustee under the Bankruptcy Act 1966. For this purpose, property has the same meaning as in the Bankruptcy Act 1966.

video link means facilities (for example, closed‑circuit television facilities) that enable audio and visual communication between persons in different places.

       (1AA)  A reference in this Act to a person or people involved in proceedings is a reference to:

                     (a)  any of the parties to the proceedings; and

                     (b)  any child whose interests are considered in, or affected by, the proceedings; and

                     (c)  any person whose conduct is having an effect on the proceedings.

       (1AB)  For the purposes of:

                     (a)  the definition of step‑parent in subsection (1); and

                    (aa)  section 4AB; and

                     (b)  paragraphs 60CC(3)(j) and (k); and

                     (c)  sections 60CF, 60CH and 60CI;

a person (the first person) is a member of the family of another person (the second person) if:

                     (d)  the first person is or has been married to, or in a de facto relationship with, the second person; or

                     (e)  the first person is or has been a relative of the second person (as defined in subsection (1AC)); or

                      (f)  an order under this Act described in subparagraph (i) or (ii) is or was (at any time) in force:

                              (i)  a parenting order (other than a child maintenance order) that relates to a child who is either the first person or the second person and that is in favour of the other of those persons;

                             (ii)  an order providing for the first person or the second person to have custody or guardianship of, or a right of access to, the other of those persons; or

                     (g)  an order under a law of a State or Territory described in subparagraph (i) or (ii) is or was (at any time) in force:

                              (i)  an order determining that the first person or the second person is or was to live with the other of those persons, or is or was to have custody or guardianship of the other of those persons;

                             (ii)  an order providing for contact between the first person and the second person, or for the first person or the second person to have a right of access to the other of those persons; or

                     (h)  the first person ordinarily or regularly resides or resided with the second person, or with another member of the family of the second person; or

                      (i)  the first person is or has been a member of the family of a child of the second person.

       (1AC)  For the purposes of subsection (1AB), a relative of a person is:

                     (a)  a father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, step‑father or step‑mother of the person; or

                     (b)  a son, daughter, grandson, grand‑daughter, step‑son or step‑daughter of the person; or

                     (c)  a brother, sister, half‑brother, half‑sister, step‑brother or step‑sister of the person; or

                     (d)  an uncle or aunt of the person; or

                     (e)  a nephew or niece of the person; or

                      (f)  a cousin of the person; or

                     (g)  if the person is or was married—in addition to paragraphs (a) to (f), a person who is or was a relative, of the kind described in any of those paragraphs, of the person’s spouse; or

                     (h)  if the person is or was in a de facto relationship with another person—in addition to paragraphs (a) to (f), a person who would be a relative of a kind described in any of those paragraphs if the persons in that de facto relationship were or had been married to each other.

          (1A)  In this Act and the applicable Rules of Court, a reference to a Family Court of a State is a reference to a court to which section 41 applies.

             (2)  A reference in this Act or the applicable Rules of Court to a party to a marriage includes a reference to a person who was a party to a marriage that has been:

                     (a)  terminated by divorce (in Australia or elsewhere); or

                     (b)  annulled (in Australia or elsewhere); or

                     (c)  terminated by the death of one party to the marriage.

          (2A)  A reference in this Act or the applicable Rules of Court to a party to a de facto relationship includes a reference to a person who was a party to a de facto relationship that has broken down.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, for all purposes:

                     (a)  jurisdiction under a provision of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 referring to this Act is taken to be jurisdiction under this Act; and

                     (b)  jurisdiction under paragraphs 25(1)(a) and (b) of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 is taken to be jurisdiction under this Act; and

                     (c)  jurisdiction under section 101 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 and under section 106 of the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 is taken to be jurisdiction under this Act; and

                     (d)  jurisdiction under the applicable Rules of Court is taken to be jurisdiction under this Act; and

                     (e)  proceedings transferred under section 51 or 149 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 referring to this Act are taken to be proceedings under this Act; and

                      (f)  proceedings under the applicable Rules of Court are taken to be proceedings under this Act; and

                     (g)  an order (however described) made by a court under the applicable Rules of Court is taken to be an order made by the court under this Act.

             (4)  A reference in this Act to a person who has parental responsibility for a child is a reference to a person who:

                     (a)  has some or all of that responsibility solely; or

                     (b)  shares some or all of that responsibility with another person.

             (5)  A reference in this Act to a person who shares parental responsibility for a child with another person is a reference to a person who shares some or all of the parental responsibility for the child with that other person.

             (6)  A reference in this Act to a person, being a party to a marriage or a party to a de facto relationship, who is bankrupt includes a reference to a person:

                     (a)  who has been discharged from bankruptcy; and

                     (b)  whose property remains vested in the bankruptcy trustee under the Bankruptcy Act 1966.

Note:          This Act might refer to “bankrupt” or a “bankrupt party”.

4AA  De facto relationships

Meaning of de facto relationship

             (1)  A person is in a de facto relationship with another person if:

                     (a)  the persons are not legally married to each other; and

                     (b)  the persons are not related by family (see subsection (6)); and

                     (c)  having regard to all the circumstances of their relationship, they have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

Paragraph (c) has effect subject to subsection (5).

Working out if persons have a relationship as a couple

             (2)  Those circumstances may include any or all of the following:

                     (a)  the duration of the relationship;

                     (b)  the nature and extent of their common residence;

                     (c)  whether a sexual relationship exists;

                     (d)  the degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between them;

                     (e)  the ownership, use and acquisition of their property;

                      (f)  the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;

                     (g)  whether the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory as a prescribed kind of relationship;

                     (h)  the care and support of children;

                      (i)  the reputation and public aspects of the relationship.

             (3)  No particular finding in relation to any circumstance is to be regarded as necessary in deciding whether the persons have a de facto relationship.

             (4)  A court determining whether a de facto relationship exists is entitled to have regard to such matters, and to attach such weight to any matter, as may seem appropriate to the court in the circumstances of the case.

             (5)  For the purposes of this Act:

                     (a)  a de facto relationship can exist between 2 persons of different sexes and between 2 persons of the same sex; and

                     (b)  a de facto relationship can exist even if one of the persons is legally married to someone else or in another de facto relationship.

When 2 persons are related by family

             (6)  For the purposes of subsection (1), 2 persons are related by family if:

                     (a)  one is the child (including an adopted child) of the other; or

                     (b)  one is another descendant of the other (even if the relationship between them is traced through an adoptive parent); or

                     (c)  they have a parent in common (who may be an adoptive parent of either or both of them).

For this purpose, disregard whether an adoption is declared void or has ceased to have effect.

4AB  Definition of family violence etc.

             (1)  For the purposes of this Act, family violence means violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family (the family member), or causes the family member to be fearful.

             (2)  Examples of behaviour that may constitute family violence include (but are not limited to):

                     (a)  an assault; or

                     (b)  a sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour; or

                     (c)  stalking; or

                     (d)  repeated derogatory taunts; or

                     (e)  intentionally damaging or destroying property; or

                      (f)  intentionally causing death or injury to an animal; or

                     (g)  unreasonably denying the family member the financial autonomy that he or she would otherwise have had; or

                     (h)  unreasonably withholding financial support needed to meet the reasonable living expenses of the family member, or his or her child, at a time when the family member is entirely or predominantly dependent on the person for financial support; or

                      (i)  preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture; or

                      (j)  unlawfully depriving the family member, or any member of the family member’s family, of his or her liberty.

             (3)  For the purposes of this Act, a child is exposed to family violence if the child sees or hears family violence or otherwise experiences the effects of family violence.

             (4)  Examples of situations that may constitute a child being exposed to family violence include (but are not limited to) the child:

                     (a)  overhearing threats of death or personal injury by a member of the child’s family towards another member of the child’s family; or

                     (b)  seeing or hearing an assault of a member of the child’s family by another member of the child’s family; or

                     (c)  comforting or providing assistance to a member of the child’s family who has been assaulted by another member of the child’s family; or

                     (d)  cleaning up a site after a member of the child’s family has intentionally damaged property of another member of the child’s family; or

                     (e)  being present when police or ambulance officers attend an incident involving the assault of a member of the child’s family by another member of the child’s family.

4A  Third party proceedings to set aside financial agreement

             (1)  For the purposes of paragraph (eab) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1), third party proceedings means proceedings between:

                     (a)  any combination of:

                              (i)  the parties to a financial agreement; and

                             (ii)  the legal personal representatives of any of those parties who have died;

                            (including a combination consisting solely of parties or consisting solely of representatives); and

                     (b)  any of the following:

                              (i)  a creditor;

                             (ii)  if a creditor is an individual who has died—the legal personal representative of the creditor;

                            (iii)  a government body acting in the interests of a creditor;

being proceedings for the setting aside of the financial agreement on the ground specified in paragraph 90K(1)(aa).

          (1A)  For the purposes of paragraph (eab) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1), third party proceedings also means proceedings between:

                     (a)  any combination of:

                              (i)  the parties to a financial agreement; and

                             (ii)  the legal personal representatives of any of those parties who have died;

                            (including a combination consisting solely of parties or consisting solely of representatives); and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  another person who is a party to a de facto relationship with one of the spouse parties to the financial agreement; or

                             (ii)  the legal personal representative of that other person if that person has died;

being proceedings for the setting aside of the financial agreement on the ground specified in paragraph 90K(1)(ab).

             (2)  In this section:

creditor means:

                     (a)  a creditor of a party to the financial agreement; or

                     (b)  a person who, at the commencement of the proceedings, could reasonably have been foreseen by the court as being reasonably likely to become a creditor of a party to the financial agreement.

government body means:

                     (a)  the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; or

                     (b)  an official or authority of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.

4B  Third party proceedings to set aside Part VIIIAB financial agreement

             (1)  For the purposes of paragraph (f) of the definition of de facto financial cause in subsection 4(1), third party proceedings means proceedings between:

                     (a)  any combination of:

                              (i)  the parties to a Part VIIIAB financial agreement; and

                             (ii)  the legal personal representatives of any of those parties who have died;

                            (including a combination consisting solely of parties or consisting solely of representatives); and

                     (b)  any of the following:

                              (i)  a creditor;

                             (ii)  if a creditor is an individual who has died—the legal personal representative of the creditor;

                            (iii)  a government body acting in the interests of a creditor;

being proceedings for the setting aside of the Part VIIIAB financial agreement on the ground specified in paragraph 90UM(1)(b).

             (2)  For the purposes of paragraph (f) of the definition of de facto financial cause in subsection 4(1), third party proceedings also means proceedings between:

                     (a)  any combination of:

                              (i)  the parties to a Part VIIIAB financial agreement; and

                             (ii)  the legal personal representatives of any of those parties who have died;

                            (including a combination consisting solely of parties or consisting solely of representatives); and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  another person who is a party to a de facto relationship with one of the spouse parties to the Part VIIIAB financial agreement; or

                             (ii)  the legal personal representative of that other person if that person has died;

being proceedings for the setting aside of the Part VIIIAB financial agreement on the ground specified in paragraph 90UM(1)(c).

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph (f) of the definition of de facto financial cause in subsection 4(1), third party proceedings also means proceedings between:

                     (a)  any combination of:

                              (i)  the parties to a Part VIIIAB financial agreement; and

                             (ii)  the legal personal representatives of any of those parties who have died;

                            (including a combination consisting solely of parties or consisting solely of representatives); and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  another person who is a party to a marriage with one of the spouse parties to the Part VIIIAB financial agreement; or

                             (ii)  the legal personal representative of that other person if that person has died;

being proceedings for the setting aside of the Part VIIIAB financial agreement on the ground specified in paragraph 90UM(1)(d).

             (4)  In this section:

creditor means:

                     (a)  a creditor of a party to the Part VIIIAB financial agreement; or

                     (b)  a person who, at the commencement of the proceedings, could reasonably have been foreseen by the court as being reasonably likely to become a creditor of a party to the Part VIIIAB financial agreement.

government body means:

                     (a)  the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; or

                     (b)  an official or authority of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.

4C  Meaning of proceeds of crime authority

Scope

             (1)  This section sets out the meaning of proceeds of crime authority in relation to:

                     (a)  a restraining order or a forfeiture order, or an application for a forfeiture order, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (or any proceedings, orders, powers, functions or duties under this Act related to, or arising out of, such an order or application); and

                     (b)  a freezing order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (or any proceedings, orders, powers, functions or duties under this Act related to, or arising out of, such a freezing order); and

                     (c)  a proceeds of crime order, or an application for a forfeiture order, under a State or Territory proceeds of crime law (or any proceedings, orders, powers, functions or duties under this Act related to, or arising out of, such an order or application).

Note:          Freezing orders, restraining orders and forfeiture orders made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or a State or Territory proceeds of crime law are proceeds of crime orders (see subsection 4(1)).

Commonwealth proceeds of crime authorities

             (2)  For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), proceeds of crime authority means the responsible authority for the relevant restraining order, forfeiture order or forfeiture application under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Note:          Under that Act, the responsible authority is the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police or the Director of Public Prosecutions (see the definitions of responsible authority and proceeds of crime authority in section 338 of that Act). Responsibility can be transferred between these authorities (see section 315B of that Act).

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), proceeds of crime authority means:

                     (a)  the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police; or

                     (b)  the Director of Public Prosecutions.

State or Territory proceeds of crime authorities

             (4)  For the purposes of paragraph (1)(c), in relation to a provision of this Act, proceeds of crime authority means a person or body prescribed by the regulations to be the proceeds of crime authority for that provision in relation to:

                     (a)  a class of proceeds of crime order, under the relevant State or Territory proceeds of crime law, prescribed by the regulations, that includes the relevant proceeds of crime order; or

                     (b)  a class of forfeiture application, under the relevant State or Territory proceeds of crime law, prescribed by the regulations, that includes the relevant forfeiture application.

Note:          The regulations may prescribe a proceeds of crime authority in relation to a proceeds of crime order under a State or Territory proceeds of crime law by reference to any matter, including (for example) by reference to who applied for the order.

5  Debtor subject to a personal insolvency agreement

                   For the purposes of this Act, if:

                     (a)  a person who is a debtor (within the meaning of Part X of the Bankruptcy Act 1966) executes a personal insolvency agreement; and

                     (b)  the agreement has not ended (within the meaning of the Bankruptcy Act 1966);

the person is a debtor subject to the personal insolvency agreement.

6  Polygamous marriages

                   For the purpose of proceedings under this Act, a union in the nature of a marriage which is, or has at any time been, polygamous, being a union entered into in a place outside Australia, shall be deemed to be a marriage.

7  Extension of Act to certain Territories

                   This Act extends to the following Territories:

                     (a)  Norfolk Island;

                     (b)  the Territory of Christmas Island;

                     (c)  the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

7A  Application of the Criminal Code

                   Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code applies to all offences against this Act.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

8  Supersession of existing laws

             (1)  After the commencement of this Act, proceedings by way of a matrimonial cause shall not be instituted except under this Act.

             (2)  Proceedings for a decree of restitution of conjugal rights, of jactitation of marriage or of judicial separation shall not be instituted or continued after the commencement of this Act.

             (3)  Proceedings for a separation order shall not be instituted after the commencement of this Act.

Part IAProtection of names

  

9A  Use of protected names and symbols

             (1)  A person must not, without the Minister’s written consent:

                     (a)  use in relation to a business, trade, profession or occupation; or

                     (b)  use as the name, or as part of the name, of any firm, body corporate, institution, premises, vehicle, ship, aircraft or other craft; or

                     (c)  apply, as a trade mark or otherwise, to goods imported, manufactured, produced, sold, offered for sale or let for hire; or

                     (d)  use in relation to:

                              (i)  goods or services; or

                             (ii)  the promotion, by any means, of the supply or use of goods or services:

either:

                     (e)  a protected name, or a name so closely resembling a protected name as to be likely to be mistaken for it; or

                      (f)  a protected symbol, or a symbol so closely resembling a protected symbol as to be likely to be mistaken for it.

Penalty:  30 penalty units.

             (2)  Subsection (1), so far as it applies in relation to a particular protected name or protected symbol, does not affect rights conferred by law on a person in relation to:

                     (a)  a trade mark that is a registered trade mark for the purposes of the Trade Marks Act 1995; or

                     (b)  a design registered under the Designs Act 2003;

that was so registered, or was registered under the Designs Act 1906, at the protection time in relation to the name or symbol.

             (3)  This section, so far as it applies in relation to a particular protected name or protected symbol, does not affect the use, or rights conferred by law relating to the use, of a name or symbol (the relevant name or symbol) by a person in a particular manner if, at the protection time in relation to the protected name or protected symbol, the person:

                     (a)  was using the relevant name or symbol in good faith in that manner; or

                     (b)  would have been entitled to prevent another person from passing off, by means of the use of the relevant name or symbol or a similar name or symbol, goods or services as the goods or services of the first‑mentioned person.

             (4)  In this section:

protected name means a name prescribed for the purposes of this definition.

protected symbol means a symbol whose design is set out in the regulations.

protection time means:

                     (a)  in relation to a protected name—the time immediately before the commencement of the regulation prescribing the name; or

                     (b)  in relation to a protected symbol—the time immediately before the commencement of the regulation setting out the design of the symbol.

Part IINon‑court based family services

Division 1Accreditation of family counsellors, family dispute resolution practitioners and other family service providers

10A  Accreditation Rules

             (1)  The regulations may prescribe Accreditation Rules. These are rules relating to:

                     (a)  the accreditation of persons as family counsellors; and

                     (b)  the accreditation of persons as family dispute resolution practitioners; and

                     (c)  the accreditation of persons to perform other roles prescribed by regulations made for the purposes of this paragraph.

             (2)  Examples of matters that the Accreditation Rules may deal with are:

                     (a)  the standards that are to be met by persons who seek to be accredited; and

                     (b)  who is responsible for determining whether a person meets the Accreditation Rules; and

                     (c)  how accreditation is to be recognised (for example, by establishment of a register or other method); and

                     (d)  the standards and other obligations that accredited persons must continue to meet to remain accredited; and

                     (e)  who is responsible for monitoring compliance with ongoing requirements in the Rules; and

                      (f)  the consequences of accredited persons failing to comply with the provisions of this Act and the Rules; and

                     (g)  the obligations of accredited persons in relation to the monitoring of their compliance; and

                     (h)  how and by whom an accredited person may have his or her accreditation (or recognition of that accreditation) suspended or cancelled; and

                      (i)  review of decisions to refuse, suspend or cancel accreditation (or recognition of accreditation); and

                      (j)  the process for handling complaints involving accredited persons; and

                     (k)  who may deliver recognised training to accredited persons, and

                      (l)  dealing with individuals or other persons who make false or misleading representations about a person’s status as an accredited person.

Division 2Family counselling

10B  Definition of family counselling

                   Family counselling is a process in which a family counsellor helps:

                     (a)  one or more persons to deal with personal and interpersonal issues in relation to marriage; or

                     (b)  one or more persons (including children) who are affected, or likely to be affected, by separation or divorce to deal with either or both of the following:

                              (i)  personal and interpersonal issues;

                             (ii)  issues relating to the care of children; or

                     (c)  one or more persons who may apply for a parenting order under section 65C to deal with issues relating to the care of children.

10C  Definition of family counsellor

             (1)  A family counsellor is:

                     (a)  a person who is accredited as a family counsellor under the Accreditation Rules; or

                     (b)  a person who is authorised to act on behalf of an organisation designated by the Minister for the purposes of this paragraph; or

                     (c)  a person who is authorised to act under section 281 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 as a family counsellor; or

                   (da)  a person who is engaged under subsection 18ZI(2) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 as a family counsellor; or

                     (e)  a person who is authorised by a Family Court of a State to act as a family counsellor.

             (2)  The Minister must publish a list of organisations designated for the purposes of paragraph (b) of the definition of family counsellor.

             (3)  An instrument under this section is not a legislative instrument.

10D  Confidentiality of communications in family counselling

             (1)  A family counsellor must not disclose a communication made to the counsellor while the counsellor is conducting family counselling, unless the disclosure is required or authorised by this section.

             (2)  A family counsellor must disclose a communication if the counsellor reasonably believes the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of complying with a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.

             (3)  A family counsellor may disclose a communication if consent to the disclosure is given by:

                     (a)  if the person who made the communication is 18 or over—that person; or

                     (b)  if the person who made the communication is a child under 18:

                              (i)  each person who has parental responsibility (within the meaning of Part VII) for the child; or

                             (ii)  a court.

             (4)  A family counsellor may disclose a communication if the counsellor reasonably believes that the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of:

                     (a)  protecting a child from the risk of harm (whether physical or psychological); or

                     (b)  preventing or lessening a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of a person; or

                     (c)  reporting the commission, or preventing the likely commission, of an offence involving violence or a threat of violence to a person; or

                     (d)  preventing or lessening a serious and imminent threat to the property of a person; or

                     (e)  reporting the commission, or preventing the likely commission, of an offence involving intentional damage to property of a person or a threat of damage to property; or

                      (f)  if a lawyer independently represents a child’s interests under an order under section 68L—assisting the lawyer to do so properly.

             (5)  A family counsellor may disclose a communication in order to provide information (other than personal information within the meaning of section 6 of the Privacy Act 1988) for research relevant to families.

             (6)  Evidence that would be inadmissible because of section 10E is not admissible merely because this section requires or authorises its disclosure.

Note:          This means that the counsellor’s evidence is inadmissible in court, even if subsection (2), (3), (4) or (5) allows the counsellor to disclose it in other circumstances.

             (7)  Nothing in this section prevents a family counsellor from disclosing information necessary for the counsellor to give a certificate of the kind mentioned in paragraph 16(2A)(a) of the Marriage Act 1961.

             (8)  In this section:

communication includes admission.

10E  Admissibility of communications in family counselling and in referrals from family counselling

             (1)  Evidence of anything said, or any admission made, by or in the company of:

                     (a)  a family counsellor conducting family counselling; or

                     (b)  a person (the professional) to whom a family counsellor refers a person for medical or other professional consultation, while the professional is carrying out professional services for the person;

is not admissible:

                     (c)  in any court (whether or not exercising federal jurisdiction); or

                     (d)  in any proceedings before a person authorised to hear evidence (whether the person is authorised by a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory, or by the consent of the parties).

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to:

                     (a)  an admission by an adult that indicates that a child under 18 has been abused or is at risk of abuse; or

                     (b)  a disclosure by a child under 18 that indicates that the child has been abused or is at risk of abuse;

unless, in the opinion of the court, there is sufficient evidence of the admission or disclosure available to the court from other sources.

             (3)  Nothing in this section prevents a family counsellor from disclosing information necessary for the counsellor to give a certificate of the kind mentioned in paragraph 16(2A)(a) of the Marriage Act 1961.

             (4)  A family counsellor who refers a person to a professional (within the meaning of paragraph (1)(b)) must inform the professional of the effect of this section.

Division 3Family dispute resolution

10F  Definition of family dispute resolution

                   Family dispute resolution is a process (other than a judicial process):

                     (a)  in which a family dispute resolution practitioner:

                              (i)  helps people affected, or likely to be affected, by separation or divorce to resolve some or all of their disputes with each other; or

                             (ii)  helps persons who may apply for a parenting order under section 65C to resolve some or all of their disputes with each other relating to the care of children; and

                     (b)  in which the practitioner is independent of all of the parties involved in the process.

10G  Definition of family dispute resolution practitioner

             (1)  A family dispute resolution practitioner is:

                     (a)  a person who is accredited as a family dispute resolution practitioner under the Accreditation Rules; or

                     (b)  a person who is authorised to act on behalf of an organisation designated by the Minister for the purposes of this paragraph; or

                     (c)  a person who is authorised to act under section 281 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 as a family dispute resolution practitioner; or

                   (da)  a person who is engaged under subsection 18ZI(2) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 as a family dispute resolution practitioner; or

                     (e)  a person who is authorised by a Family Court of a State to act as a family dispute resolution practitioner.

             (2)  The Minister must publish a list of organisations designated for the purposes of paragraph (b) of the definition of family dispute resolution practitioner.

             (3)  An instrument under this section is not a legislative instrument.

10H  Confidentiality of communications in family dispute resolution

             (1)  A family dispute resolution practitioner must not disclose a communication made to the practitioner while the practitioner is conducting family dispute resolution, unless the disclosure is required or authorised by this section.

             (2)  A family dispute resolution practitioner must disclose a communication if the practitioner reasonably believes the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of complying with a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.

             (3)  A family dispute resolution practitioner may disclose a communication if consent to the disclosure is given by:

                     (a)  if the person who made the communication is 18 or over—that person; or

                     (b)  if the person who made the communication is a child under 18:

                              (i)  each person who has parental responsibility (within the meaning of Part VII) for the child; or

                             (ii)  a court.

             (4)  A family dispute resolution practitioner may disclose a communication if the practitioner reasonably believes that the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of:

                     (a)  protecting a child from the risk of harm (whether physical or psychological); or

                     (b)  preventing or lessening a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of a person; or

                     (c)  reporting the commission, or preventing the likely commission, of an offence involving violence or a threat of violence to a person; or

                     (d)  preventing or lessening a serious and imminent threat to the property of a person; or

                     (e)  reporting the commission, or preventing the likely commission, of an offence involving intentional damage to property of a person or a threat of damage to property; or

                      (f)  if a lawyer independently represents a child’s interests under an order under section 68L—assisting the lawyer to do so properly.

             (5)  A family dispute resolution practitioner may disclose a communication in order to provide information (other than personal information within the meaning of section 6 of the Privacy Act 1988) for research relevant to families.

             (6)  A family dispute resolution practitioner may disclose information necessary for the practitioner to give a certificate under subsection 60I(8).

             (7)  Evidence that would be inadmissible because of section 10J is not admissible merely because this section requires or authorises its disclosure.

Note:          This means that the practitioner’s evidence is inadmissible in court, even if subsection (2), (3), (4), (5) or (6) allows the practitioner to disclose it in other circumstances.

             (8)  In this section:

communication includes admission.

10J  Admissibility of communications in family dispute resolution and in referrals from family dispute resolution

             (1)  Evidence of anything said, or any admission made, by or in the company of:

                     (a)  a family dispute resolution practitioner conducting family dispute resolution; or

                     (b)  a person (the professional) to whom a family dispute resolution practitioner refers a person for medical or other professional consultation, while the professional is carrying out professional services for the person;

is not admissible:

                     (c)  in any court (whether or not exercising federal jurisdiction); or

                     (d)  in any proceedings before a person authorised to hear evidence (whether the person is authorised by a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory, or by the consent of the parties).

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to:

                     (a)  an admission by an adult that indicates that a child under 18 has been abused or is at risk of abuse; or

                     (b)  a disclosure by a child under 18 that indicates that the child has been abused or is at risk of abuse;

unless, in the opinion of the court, there is sufficient evidence of the admission or disclosure available to the court from other sources.

             (3)  Subsection (1) does not apply to information necessary for the practitioner to give a certificate under subsection 60I(8).

             (4)  A family dispute resolution practitioner who refers a person to a professional (within the meaning of paragraph (1)(b)) must inform the professional of the effect of this section.

10K  Family dispute resolution practitioners must comply with regulations

             (1)  The regulations may prescribe requirements to be complied with by family dispute resolution practitioners in relation to the family dispute resolution services they provide.

             (2)  The regulations may prescribe penalties not exceeding 10 penalty units in respect of offences against regulations made for the purposes of subsection (1).

Division 4Arbitration

10L  Definition of arbitration

             (1)  Arbitration is a process (other than the judicial process) in which parties to a dispute present arguments and evidence to an arbitrator, who makes a determination to resolve the dispute.

             (2)  Arbitration may be either:

                     (a)  section 13E arbitration—which is arbitration of Part VIII proceedings, or Part VIIIAB proceedings (other than proceedings relating to a Part VIIIAB financial agreement), carried out as a result of an order made under section 13E; or

                     (b)  relevant property or financial arbitration—which is arbitration (other than section 13E arbitration) of:

                              (i)  Part VIII proceedings, Part VIIIA proceedings, Part VIIIAB proceedings, Part VIIIB proceedings or section 106A proceedings; or

                             (ii)  any part of such proceedings; or

                            (iii)  any matter arising in such proceedings; or

                            (iv)  a dispute about a matter with respect to which such proceedings could be instituted.

10M  Definition of arbitrator

                   An arbitrator is a person who meets the requirements prescribed in the regulations to be an arbitrator.

10N  Arbitrators may charge fees for their services

             (1)  An arbitrator conducting arbitration may charge the parties to the arbitration fees for conducting it.

             (2)  The arbitrator must give written information about those fees to the parties before the arbitration starts.

Note:          There may be Rules of Court or regulations relating to the costs of arbitration and how they are assessed or taxed (see paragraphs 123(1)(se) and 125(1)(bc)).

10P  Immunity of arbitrators

                   An arbitrator has, in performing his or her functions as an arbitrator, the same protection and immunity as a Judge of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) has in performing the functions of a Judge.

Note:          Communications with arbitrators are not confidential, and may be admissible in court.

Part IIAFamily safety risk screening

Division 1Preliminary

10Q  Simplified outline of this Part

This Part prevents the disclosure, and admission into evidence, of information that is in connection with a family safety risk screening process carried out by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) or Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) in relation to a party to proceedings under this Act.

The process is carried out for the purpose of identifying any persons at risk of family violence in order to determine the urgency and priority of the proceedings.

10R  Definition of family safety risk screening person

                   A family safety risk screening person is:

                     (a)  an officer or staff member of:

                              (i)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1); or

                             (ii)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                     (b)  a family counsellor; or

                     (c)  a contractor engaged on behalf of a court referred to in paragraph (a); or

                     (d)  an officer, employee or subcontractor of a contractor referred to in paragraph (c).

10S  Definition of family safety risk screening information

             (1)  Family safety risk screening information is:

                     (a)  information obtained (whether orally or in writing) or generated, or a document obtained or created, by a family safety risk screening person in connection with a family safety risk screening process; or

                     (b)  information about whether or not a party to proceedings under this Act participated in a family safety risk screening process.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), family safety risk screening information includes reports prepared, recommendations made or referrals created by a family safety risk screening person as a result of the information referred to in subsection (1).

10T  Definition of family safety risk screening process

             (1)  A family safety risk screening process is a process carried out, or attempted to be carried out, by a family safety risk screening person:

                     (a)  in connection with proceedings under this Act; and

                     (b)  in relation to a party to those proceedings;

for the purpose, or for purposes that include the purpose, of identifying one or more of the following:

                     (c)  any persons who are at risk of being subjected to family violence;

                     (d)  any children who are at risk of being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence;

                     (e)  any risks to the safety of persons;

in order to determine the urgency and priority of the proceedings and assist in case management.

Process must involve use of risk screening tool

             (2)  The process carried out, or attempted to be carried out, must involve the use of a risk screening tool determined under subsection (3).

             (3)  The Chief Executive Officer may, by notifiable instrument, determine a risk screening tool for the purposes of subsection (2).

Process may also involve risk assessment

             (4)  Without limiting subsection (1), the process referred to in that subsection may also involve a risk assessment conducted by a family counsellor in connection with this Part.

Division 2Protection of family safety risk screening information

10U  Confidentiality of family safety risk screening information

             (1)  A family safety risk screening person must not disclose family safety risk screening information, unless the disclosure is required or authorised by this section.

             (2)  A family safety risk screening person must disclose family safety risk screening information if that person reasonably believes the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of complying with a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.

             (3)  A family safety risk screening person may disclose family safety risk screening information to a party to the proceedings concerned if that information:

                     (a)  was provided by, or generated or created from information provided by, that party; and

                     (b)  relates to that party.

             (4)  A family safety risk screening person may disclose family safety risk screening information if consent to the disclosure is given by:

                     (a)  if:

                              (i)  the information was provided by, or generated or created from information provided by, a party to the proceedings concerned; and

                             (ii)  the information relates to that party; and

                            (iii)  that party is 18 or over;

                            that party; or

                     (b)  if:

                              (i)  the information was provided by, or generated or created from information provided by, a party to the proceedings concerned; and

                             (ii)  the information relates to that party; and

                            (iii)  that party is a child under 18;

                            a court.

             (5)  A family safety risk screening person may disclose family safety risk screening information to another family safety risk screening person for the purposes of that other person’s responsibilities or duties in connection with this Part.

             (6)  A family safety risk screening person may disclose family safety risk screening information if that person reasonably believes that the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of:

                     (a)  protecting a child from the risk of harm (whether physical or psychological); or

                     (b)  preventing or lessening a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of a person; or

                     (c)  reporting the commission, or preventing the likely commission, of an offence involving violence or a threat of violence to a person; or

                     (d)  preventing or lessening a serious and imminent threat to the property of a person; or

                     (e)  reporting the commission, or preventing the likely commission, of an offence involving intentional damage to property, or a threat of damage to property, of a person; or

                      (f)  if a lawyer independently represents a child’s interests under an order under section 68L—assisting the lawyer to do so properly.

             (7)  A family safety risk screening person may disclose family safety risk screening information in order to provide information (other than personal information within the meaning of section 6 of the Privacy Act 1988) for research relevant to families.

             (8)  Evidence that would be inadmissible because of section 10V is not admissible merely because this section requires or authorises its disclosure.

Note:          This means that a family safety risk screening person’s evidence is inadmissible in court, even if subsection (2), (3), (4), (5), (6) or (7) requires or authorises the person to disclose it in other circumstances.

10V  Admissibility of family safety risk screening information etc.

Family safety risk screening information

             (1)  Family safety risk screening information is not admissible:

                     (a)  in any court (whether or not exercising federal jurisdiction); or

                     (b)  in any proceedings before a person authorised to hear evidence (whether the person is authorised by a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory, or by the consent of the parties).

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to family safety risk screening information that indicates that a child under 18 has been abused or is at risk of abuse, unless, in the opinion of the court, there is sufficient evidence of the information available to the court from other sources.

Evidence of things said or admissions made in company of professionals

             (3)  Evidence of anything said, or any admission made, by or in the company of a person (the professional) to whom a family safety risk screening person refers a party to the proceedings concerned (the referred party) for medical or other professional services, while that professional is providing such services to the referred party, is not admissible:

                     (a)  in any court (whether or not exercising federal jurisdiction); or

                     (b)  in any proceedings before a person authorised to hear evidence (whether the person is authorised by a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory, or by the consent of the parties).

             (4)  Subsection (3) does not apply to a thing said or an admission made by the referred party (including a child under 18) indicating that a child under 18 has been abused or is at risk of abuse, unless, in the opinion of the court, there is sufficient evidence of the thing said, or the admission made, available to the court from other sources.

Professional to be informed of effect of section

             (5)  A family safety risk screening person who refers a party to a professional (within the meaning of subsection (3)) must inform the professional of the effect of this section.

10W  Immunity of family safety risk screening persons

                   A family safety risk screening person has, in performing that person’s functions as a family safety risk screening person, the same protection and immunity as a Judge of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) has in performing the functions of a Judge.

Part IIIFamily consultants

Division 1About family consultants

11A  Functions of family consultants

                   The functions of family consultants are to provide services in relation to proceedings under this Act, including:

                     (a)  assisting and advising people involved in the proceedings; and

                     (b)  assisting and advising courts, and giving evidence, in relation to the proceedings; and

                     (c)  helping people involved in the proceedings to resolve disputes that are the subject of the proceedings; and

                     (d)  reporting to the court under sections 55A and 62G; and

                     (e)  advising the court about appropriate family counsellors, family dispute resolution practitioners and courses, programs and services to which the court can refer the parties to the proceedings.

Note:          See subsection 4(1AA) for people who are taken to be involved in proceedings.

11B  Definition of family consultant

A family consultant is a person who is:

                     (a)  appointed as a family consultant under section 18ZH of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976; or

                     (c)  appointed as a family consultant under the regulations; or

                     (d)  appointed under a law of a State as a family consultant in relation to a Family Court of that State.

Note:          The Chief Executive Officer has all of the functions and powers of family consultants, and may direct consultants in the performance of their functions. See Part 1 of Chapter 5 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021.

11C  Admissibility of communications with family consultants and referrals from family consultants

             (1)  Evidence of anything said, or any admission made, by or in the company of:

                     (a)  a family consultant performing the functions of a family consultant; or

                     (b)  a person (the professional) to whom a family consultant refers a person for medical or other professional consultation, while the professional is carrying out professional services for the person;

is admissible in proceedings under this Act.

Note 1:       Communications with family consultants are not confidential (except in the special circumstances set out in subsection 281(3) of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 in relation to consultants having several roles).

Note 2:       Subsection (1) does not prevent things said or admissions made by or in the company of family consultants from being admissible in proceedings other than proceedings under this Act.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to a thing said or an admission made by a person who, at the time of saying the thing or making the admission, had not been informed of the effect of subsection (1).

             (3)  Despite subsection (2), a thing said or admission made is admissible even if the person who said the thing or made the admission had not been informed of the effect of subsection (1), if:

                     (a)  the thing was said or the admission was made by a person (including a child under 18) indicating that a child under 18 has been abused or is at risk of abuse; and

                     (b)  for a thing or admission that was obtained improperly or in contravention, or in consequence of an impropriety or of a contravention, of an Australian law—the evidence is admissible under section 138 of the Evidence Act 1995;

unless, in the opinion of the court, sufficient evidence of the thing said or the admission made is available to the court from other sources.

Note:          A thing that is said, or an admission that is made, by a child under 18 may relate to the child him or herself, or another child under 18.

11D  Immunity of family consultants

                   A family consultant has, in performing his or her functions as a family consultant, the same protection and immunity as a Judge of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) has in performing the functions of a Judge.

Division 2Courts’ use of family consultants

11E  Courts to consider seeking advice from family consultants

             (1)  If, under this Act, a court has the power to:

                     (a)  order a person to attend family counselling or family dispute resolution; or

                     (b)  order a person to participate in a course, program or other service (other than arbitration); or

                     (c)  order a person to attend appointments with a family consultant; or

                     (d)  advise or inform a person about family counselling, family dispute resolution or other courses, programs or services;

the court:

                     (e)  may, before exercising the power, seek the advice of:

                              (i)  if the court is the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia—a family consultant nominated by the Chief Executive Officer; or

                             (ii)  if the court is the Family Court of a State—a family consultant of that court; or

                            (iii)  if the court is not mentioned in subparagraph (i) or (ii)—an appropriately qualified person (whether or not an officer of the court);

                            as to the services appropriate to the needs of the person and the most appropriate provider of those services; and

                      (f)  must, before exercising the power, consider seeking that advice.

             (2)  If the court seeks advice under subsection (1), the court must inform the person in relation to whom the advice is sought:

                     (a)  whom the court is seeking advice from; and

                     (b)  the nature of the advice the court is seeking.

11F  Court may order parties to attend, or arrange for child to attend, appointments with a family consultant

             (1)  A court exercising jurisdiction in proceedings under this Act may make either or both of the following kinds of order:

                     (a)  an order directing one or more parties to the proceedings to attend an appointment (or a series of appointments) with a family consultant;

                     (b)  an order directing one or more parties to the proceedings to arrange for a child to attend an appointment (or a series of appointments) with a family consultant.

Note:          Before exercising this power, the court must consider seeking the advice of a family consultant about the services appropriate to the parties’ needs (see section 11E).

             (2)  When making an order under subsection (1), the court must inform the parties of the effect of section 11G (consequences of failure to comply with order).

             (3)  The court may make orders under this section:

                     (a)  on its own initiative; or

                     (b)  on the application of:

                              (i)  a party to the proceedings; or

                             (ii)  a lawyer independently representing a child’s interests under an order made under section 68L.

11G  Consequences of failure to comply with order under section 11F

             (1)  If a person who is ordered to attend an appointment with a family consultant under section 11F fails to comply with:

                     (a)  the order made by the court; or

                     (b)  any instruction the consultant gives to the person;

the consultant must report the failure to the court.

          (1A)  If:

                     (a)  a person fails to comply with an order under section 11F that he or she arrange for a child to attend an appointment with a family consultant; or

                     (b)  a child fails to attend an appointment with a family consultant as arranged in compliance with an order under section 11F;

the consultant must report the failure to the court.

             (2)  On receiving a report under subsection (1) or (1A), the court may make any further orders it considers appropriate.

             (3)  The court may make orders under subsection (2):

                     (a)  on its own initiative; or

                     (b)  on the application of:

                              (i)  a party to the proceedings; or

                             (ii)  a lawyer independently representing a child’s interests under an order made under section 68L.

Part IIIAObligations to inform people about non‑court based family services and about court’s processes and services

Division 1Introduction

12A  Objects of this Part

                   The objects of this Part are:

                     (a)  to ensure that married couples considering separation or divorce are informed about the services available to help with a possible reconciliation, in situations where a reconciliation between the couple seems a reasonable possibility; and

                     (b)  to ensure that people affected, or likely to be affected, by separation or divorce are informed about the services available to help them adjust to:

                              (i)  separation or divorce; and

                             (ii)  orders made under this Act; and

                     (c)  to ensure that people affected, or likely to be affected, by separation or divorce are informed about ways of resolving disputes other than by applying for orders under this Act.

Division 2Kind of information to be provided

12B  Prescribed information about non‑court based family services and court’s processes and services

             (1)  The regulations may prescribe information that is to be included in documents provided to persons under this Part, relating to non‑court based family services and court’s processes and services.

             (2)  Without limitation, information prescribed under this section must include information about:

                     (a)  the legal and possible social effects of the proposed proceedings (including the consequences for children whose care, welfare or development is likely to be affected by the proceedings); and

                     (b)  the services provided by family counsellors and family dispute resolution practitioners to help people affected by separation or divorce; and

                     (c)  the steps involved in the proposed proceedings; and

                     (d)  the role of family consultants; and

                     (e)  the arbitration facilities available to arbitrate disputes in relation to separation and divorce.

12C  Prescribed information about reconciliation

                   The regulations may prescribe information that is to be included in documents provided to persons under this Part, relating to services available to help with a reconciliation between the parties to a marriage.

12D  Prescribed information about Part VII proceedings

             (1)  The regulations may prescribe information that is to be included in documents provided under this Part to persons involved in proceedings under Part VII.

             (2)  Without limitation, the information must include information about the family counselling services available to assist the parties, and the child or children concerned, to adjust to the consequences of orders under that Part.

Division 3Who must provide information, and when

12E  Obligations on legal practitioners

             (1)  A legal practitioner who is consulted by a person considering instituting proceedings under this Act must give the person documents containing the information prescribed under section 12B (about non‑court based family services and court’s processes and services).

             (2)  A legal practitioner who is consulted by, or who is representing, a married person who is a party to:

                     (a)  proceedings for a divorce order in relation to the marriage; or

                     (b)  financial or Part VII proceedings in relation to the marriage;

must give the person documents containing the information prescribed under section 12C (about reconciliation).

             (3)  A legal practitioner representing a party in proceedings under Part VII must give the party documents containing the information prescribed under section 12D (about Part VII proceedings).

Note:          For other obligations of legal practitioners in relation to Part VII matters, see sections 60D and 63DA.

             (4)  A legal practitioner does not have to comply with subsection (1), (2) or (3) if the practitioner has reasonable grounds to believe that the person has already been given documents containing the prescribed information mentioned in that subsection.

             (5)  A legal practitioner does not have to comply with subsection (2) if the practitioner considers that there is no reasonable possibility of a reconciliation between the parties to the marriage.

12F  Obligations on principal executive officers of courts

Obligation to give prescribed information

             (1)  The principal executive officer of a court that has jurisdiction under this Act must ensure that any person who is considering instituting proceedings under this Act is, on the first occasion the person deals with a registry of the court, given documents containing the information prescribed under:

                     (a)  section 12B (about non‑court based family services and court’s processes and services); and

                     (b)  section 12C (about reconciliation); and

                     (c)  section 12D (about Part VII proceedings).

Obligation to respond to requests for information

             (2)  The principal executive officer of a court that has jurisdiction under this Act must ensure that, if a person involved in proceedings under this Act requests an officer or staff member of the court for information about family counselling services or family dispute resolution services, the person is given documents containing information about those services.

Note:          See subsection 4(1AA) for people who are taken to be involved in proceedings.

12G  Obligations on family counsellors, family dispute resolution practitioners and arbitrators

             (1)  A family counsellor, family dispute resolution practitioner or arbitrator who deals with a married person considering instituting:

                     (a)  proceedings for a divorce order in relation to the marriage; or

                     (b)  financial or Part VII proceedings in relation to the marriage;

must give the married person (and in appropriate cases, that person’s spouse) documents containing the information prescribed under 12C (about reconciliation).

Note:          For other obligations of family counsellors and family dispute resolution practitioners in relation to Part VII matters, see sections 60D and 63DA. Those sections do not apply to arbitrators.

             (2)  A family counsellor, family dispute resolution practitioner or arbitrator does not have to comply with subsection (1), if he or she:

                     (a)  has reasonable grounds to believe that the person has already been given documents containing the prescribed information; or

                     (b)  considers that there is no reasonable possibility of a reconciliation between the parties to the marriage.

Part IIIBCourt’s powers in relation to court and non‑court based family services

Division 1Introduction

13A  Objects of this Part

             (1)  The objects of this Part are:

                     (a)  to facilitate access to family counselling:

                              (i)  to help married couples considering separation or divorce to reconcile; and

                             (ii)  to help people adjust to separation or divorce; and

                            (iii)  to help people adjust to court orders under this Act; and

                     (b)  to encourage people to use dispute resolution mechanisms (other than judicial ones) to resolve matters in which a court order might otherwise be made under this Act, provided the mechanisms are appropriate in the circumstances and proper procedures are followed; and

                     (c)  to encourage people to use, in appropriate circumstances, arbitration to resolve matters in which a court order might otherwise be made, and to provide ways of facilitating that use; and

                     (d)  to give the court the power to require parties to proceedings under this Act to make use of court or non‑court based family services appropriate to the needs of the parties.

             (2)  The object mentioned in paragraph (1)(b) also lies behind the general requirement in section 60I for family dispute resolution services to be used before applications for orders under Part VII are made.

Division 2Help with reconciliation

13B  Court to accommodate possible reconciliations

             (1)  A court exercising jurisdiction in:

                     (a)  proceedings for a divorce order; or

                     (b)  financial or part VII proceedings instituted by a party to a subsisting marriage;

must consider, from time to time, the possibility of a reconciliation between the parties to the marriage.

             (2)  If, during the proceedings, the court considers, from the evidence in the proceedings or the attitude of the parties to the marriage, that there is a reasonable possibility of a reconciliation between the parties, the court may adjourn the proceedings to give the parties the opportunity to consider a reconciliation.

             (3)  If the court adjourns the proceedings under subsection (2), the court must advise the parties to attend family counselling, or use the services of another appropriate person or organisation.

Note:          Before advising the parties, the court must consider seeking the advice of a family consultant about the services appropriate to the parties’ needs (see section 11E).

             (4)  If, after an adjournment under subsection (2), either of the parties requests that the proceedings resume, the court must resume the proceedings as soon as practicable.

Division 3Referrals to family counselling, family dispute resolution and other family services

13C  Court may refer parties to family counselling, family dispute resolution and other family services

             (1)  A court exercising jurisdiction in proceedings under this Act may, at any stage in the proceedings, make one or more of the following orders:

                     (a)  that one or more of the parties to the proceedings attend family counselling;

                     (b)  that the parties to the proceedings attend family dispute resolution;

                     (c)  that one or more of the parties to the proceedings participate in an appropriate course, program or other service.

Note 1:       Before making an order under this section, the court must consider seeking the advice of a family consultant about the services appropriate to the parties’ needs (see section 11E).

Note 2:       The court can also order parties to attend, or arrange for a child to attend, appointments with a family consultant (see section 11F).

             (2)  The court may suggest a particular purpose for the attendance or participation.

             (3)  The order may require the party or parties to encourage the participation of specified other persons who are likely to be affected by the proceedings.

Note:          For example, the participation of children, grandparents or other relatives may be encouraged.

             (4)  The court may make any other orders it considers reasonably necessary or appropriate in relation to the order.

             (5)  The court may make orders under this section:

                     (a)  on its own initiative; or

                     (b)  on the application of:

                              (i)  a party to the proceedings; or

                             (ii)  a lawyer independently representing a child’s interests under an order made under section 68L.

13D  Consequences of failure to comply with order under section 13C

             (1)  If a party fails to comply with an order of a court under section 13C, the family counsellor, family dispute resolution practitioner or provider of the course, program or other service must report the failure to the court.

             (2)  On receiving the report, the court may make any further orders it considers appropriate.

             (3)  The court may make orders under subsection (2):

                     (a)  on its own initiative; or

                     (b)  on the application of:

                              (i)  a party to the proceedings; or

                             (ii)  a lawyer independently representing a child’s interests under an order made under section 68L.

Division 4Court’s role in relation to arbitration of disputes

13E  Court may refer Part VIII proceedings or Part VIIIAB proceedings to arbitration

             (1)  With the consent of all of the parties to the proceedings, a court exercising jurisdiction in:

                     (a)  Part VIII proceedings; or

                     (b)  Part VIIIAB proceedings (other than proceedings relating to a Part VIIIAB financial agreement);

may make an order referring the proceedings, or any part of them, or any matter arising in them, to an arbitrator for arbitration.

             (2)  If the court makes an order under subsection (1), it may, if necessary, adjourn the proceedings and may make any additional orders as it thinks appropriate to facilitate the effective conduct of the arbitration.

13F  Court may make orders to facilitate arbitration of certain disputes

                   A court that has jurisdiction under this Act may, on application by a party to relevant property or financial arbitration, make orders the court thinks appropriate to facilitate the effective conduct of the arbitration.

13G  Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) may determine questions of law referred by arbitrator

             (1)  An arbitrator of section 13E arbitration or relevant property or financial arbitration may, at any time before making an award in the arbitration, refer a question of law arising in relation to the arbitration for determination by:

                     (a)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                     (b)  a single judge of the Family Court of a State.

             (2)  The arbitrator may do so:

                     (a)  on his or her own initiative; or

                     (b)  at the request of one or more of the parties to the arbitration if the arbitrator considers it appropriate to do so.

             (3)  The arbitrator must not make an award in the arbitration before the judge or Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) has either:

                     (a)  determined the question of law; or

                     (b)  remitted the matter to the arbitrator having found that no question of law arises.

13H  Awards made in arbitration may be registered in court

             (1)  A party to an award made in section 13E arbitration or in relevant property or financial arbitration may register the award:

                     (a)  in the case of section 13E arbitration—in the court that ordered the arbitration; or

                     (b)  otherwise—in a court that has jurisdiction under this Act.

             (2)  An award registered under subsection (1) has effect as if it were a decree made by that court.

13J  Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) can review registered awards

             (1)  A party to a registered award made in section 13E arbitration or relevant property or financial arbitration may apply for review of the award, on questions of law, by:

                     (a)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                     (b)  a single judge of the Family Court of a State.

Note:          There may be Rules of Court providing for when, and how, an application for review of the award can be made (see paragraph 123(1)(sf)).

             (2)  On a review of an award under this section, the judge or Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) may:

                     (a)  determine all questions of law arising in relation to the arbitration; and

                     (b)  make such decrees as the judge or Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) thinks appropriate, including a decree affirming, reversing or varying the award.

13K  Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia may set aside registered awards

             (1)  If an award made in section 13E arbitration or relevant property or financial arbitration, or an agreement made as a result of such arbitration, is registered in:

                     (a)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1); or

                     (b)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                     (c)  a Family Court of a State;

the court in which the award is registered may make a decree affirming, reversing or varying the award or agreement.

             (2)  The court may only make a decree under subsection (1) if the court is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the award or agreement was obtained by fraud (including non‑disclosure of a material matter); or

                     (b)  the award or agreement is void, voidable or unenforceable; or

                     (c)  in the circumstances that have arisen since the award or agreement was made it is impracticable for some or all of it to be carried out; or

                     (d)  the arbitration was affected by bias, or there was a lack of procedural fairness in the way in which the arbitration process, as agreed between the parties and the arbitrator, was conducted.

Part VJurisdiction of courts

Division 1Jurisdiction in matrimonial causes

39  Jurisdiction in matrimonial causes

             (1)  Subject to this Part, a matrimonial cause may be instituted under this Act:

                     (a)  in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                     (b)  in the Supreme Court of a State or a Territory.

             (2)  Subject to this Part, a matrimonial cause (other than proceedings of a kind referred to in subparagraph (a)(ii) or paragraph (b) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1)) may be instituted under this Act in a Court of summary jurisdiction of a State or Territory.

             (3)  Proceedings for a divorce order may be instituted under this Act if, at the date on which the application for the order is filed in a court, either party to the marriage:

                     (a)  is an Australian citizen;

                     (b)  is domiciled in Australia; or

                     (c)  is ordinarily resident in Australia and has been so resident for 1 year immediately preceding that date.

             (4)  Proceedings of a kind referred to in the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1), other than proceedings for a divorce order or proceedings referred to in paragraph (f) of that definition, may be instituted under this Act if:

                     (a)  in the case of proceedings between the parties to a marriage or proceedings of a kind referred to in paragraph (b) of that definition in relation to a marriage—either party to the marriage is an Australian citizen, is ordinarily resident in Australia, or is present in Australia, at the relevant date; and

                     (b)  in any other case—any party to the proceedings is an Australian citizen, is ordinarily resident in Australia, or is present in Australia, at the relevant date.

          (4A)  In subsection (4), relevant date, in relation to proceedings, means:

                     (a)  if the application instituting the proceedings is filed in a court—the date on which the application is so filed; or

                     (b)  in any other case—the date on which the application instituting the proceedings is made.

             (5)  Subject to this Part and to section 111AA, the Supreme Court of each State is invested with federal jurisdiction, and jurisdiction is conferred on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) and on the Supreme Court of each Territory, with respect to matters arising under this Act in respect of which:

                     (a)  matrimonial causes are instituted under this Act; or

                     (d)  proceedings are instituted under:

                              (i)  regulations made for the purposes of section 109, 110, 111, 111A or 111B; or

                             (ii)  regulations made for the purposes of paragraph 125(1)(f) or (g); or

                            (iii)  provisions of the applicable Rules of Court dealing with the attachment of money payable by the Commonwealth, a State, a Territory or the Government of a Territory, or an authority of the Commonwealth, of a State or of a Territory; or

                   (da)  proceedings are instituted under Division 4 of Part XIIIAA or under regulations made for the purposes of section 111CZ; or

                     (e)  proceedings are instituted under section 117A.

             (6)  Subject to this Part and to section 111AA, each court of summary jurisdiction of each State is invested with federal jurisdiction, and jurisdiction is conferred on each court of summary jurisdiction of each Territory, with respect to matters arising under this Act in respect of which:

                     (a)  matrimonial causes (other than proceedings of a kind referred to in subparagraph (a)(ii) or paragraph (b) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1)) are instituted under this Act; or

                     (d)  proceedings are instituted under:

                              (i)  regulations made for the purposes of section 109, 110, 111, 111A or 111B; or

                             (ii)  regulations made for the purposes of paragraph 125(1)(f) or (g); or

                            (iii)  provisions of the applicable Rules of Court dealing with the attachment of money payable by the Commonwealth, a State, a Territory or the Government of a Territory, or an authority of the Commonwealth, of a State or of a Territory; or

                   (da)  proceedings are instituted under Division 4 of Part XIIIAA or under regulations made for the purposes of section 111CZ; or

                     (e)  proceedings are instituted under section 117A.

             (7)  The Governor‑General may, by Proclamation, fix a day as the day on and after which proceedings in relation to matters arising under this Part may not be instituted in, or transferred to, a court of summary jurisdiction in a specified State or Territory.

    (7AAA)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (7), a Proclamation under that subsection may be expressed to apply only in relation to one or more of the following:

                     (a)  proceedings of specified classes;

                     (b)  the institution of proceedings in, or the transfer of proceedings to, a court of summary jurisdiction in a specified part of a State or Territory;

                     (c)  the institution of proceedings in, or the transfer of proceedings to, a court of summary jurisdiction constituted in a specified way.

       (7AA)  A court of summary jurisdiction in a State or Territory shall not hear or determine proceedings under this Act instituted in or transferred to that court otherwise than in accordance with any Proclamation in force under subsection (7).

          (7A)  The Governor‑General may, by Proclamation, declare that a Proclamation made under subsection (7) is revoked on and from a specified date and, on and after the specified date, this Act (including subsection (7)) has effect as if the revoked Proclamation had not been made, but without prejudice to the effect of the revoked Proclamation in respect of the jurisdiction of courts before the specified date.

             (8)  Jurisdiction with respect to a matter arising under this Act in respect of which a matrimonial cause is instituted under this Act is not conferred on a court of a Territory unless at least one of the parties to the proceedings is, at the date of the institution of the proceedings or the date of the transfer of the proceedings to the court of the Territory, ordinarily resident in the Territory.

             (9)  The jurisdiction conferred on or invested in a court by this section includes jurisdiction with respect to matters arising under any law of the Commonwealth in respect of which proceedings are transferred to that court in accordance with this Act.

Division 2Jurisdiction in de facto financial causes

39A  Instituting proceedings

Instituting proceedings under this Act

             (1)  A de facto financial cause may be instituted under this Act in:

                     (a)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                     (c)  the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory of Australia; or

                     (d)  a court of summary jurisdiction of a participating jurisdiction.

             (2)  However:

                     (a)  in the case of proceedings between the parties to the de facto relationship—either of those parties; or

                     (b)  in any other case—at least one of the parties to the proceedings;

must be an Australian citizen, ordinarily resident in Australia or present in Australia on the following day:

                     (c)  if the application instituting the proceedings is filed in a court—the day on which the application is so filed;

                     (d)  in any other case—the day on which the application instituting the proceedings is made.

             (3)  Subsection (2) does not apply in relation to proceedings referred to in paragraph (g) of the definition of de facto financial cause in subsection 4(1).

             (4)  Subsection (1) has effect subject to this Part.

Proceedings only to be instituted under this Act

             (5)  A de facto financial cause that may be instituted under this Act must not, after the commencement of this section, be instituted otherwise than under this Act.

             (6)  Subsection (5) has effect subject to subsection 90RC(5).

39B  Jurisdiction in de facto financial causes

             (1)  Jurisdiction is conferred on:

                     (a)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); and

                     (c)  the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory of Australia; and

                     (d)  each court of summary jurisdiction of each Territory;

with respect to matters arising under this Act in respect of which de facto financial causes are instituted under this Act.

Note 1:       The exercise of this jurisdiction by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) is subject to section 40.

Note 3:       The exercise of this jurisdiction by a Territory court is subject to sections 39C, 39D, 39E and 39F.

             (2)  Each court of summary jurisdiction of each referring State is invested with federal jurisdiction with respect to matters arising under this Act in respect of which de facto financial causes are instituted under this Act.

Note:          The exercise of this jurisdiction by a State court is subject to sections 39D and 39E.

             (3)  This section has effect subject to this Part.

39C  Ceasing jurisdiction of Supreme Court of the Northern Territory of Australia

             (1)  The Governor‑General may, by Proclamation, fix a day as the day on and after which a de facto financial cause:

                     (a)  may not be instituted in, or transferred to, the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory of Australia; or

                     (b)  may be so instituted or transferred only where specified conditions are complied with.

             (2)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), a Proclamation under that subsection may be expressed to apply only in relation to one or more of the following:

                     (a)  proceedings of specified classes;

                     (b)  the institution of proceedings in, or the transfer of proceedings to, the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory of Australia.

             (3)  The Supreme Court of the Northern Territory of Australia must not hear and determine de facto financial causes otherwise than in accordance with any Proclamation in force under subsection (1).

39D  Ceasing jurisdiction of State or Territory courts of summary jurisdiction

             (1)  The Governor‑General may, by Proclamation, fix a day as the day on and after which a de facto financial cause may not be instituted in, or transferred to, a court of summary jurisdiction in a specified participating jurisdiction.

             (2)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), a Proclamation under that subsection may be expressed to apply only in relation to one or more of the following:

                     (a)  proceedings of specified classes;

                     (b)  the institution of proceedings in, or the transfer of proceedings to, a court of summary jurisdiction in a specified part of a participating jurisdiction;

                     (c)  the institution of proceedings in, or the transfer of proceedings to, a court of summary jurisdiction constituted in a specified way.

             (3)  A court of summary jurisdiction must not hear and determine de facto financial causes otherwise than in accordance with any Proclamation in force under subsection (1).

39E  Revoking Proclamations ceasing jurisdiction of State or Territory courts

             (1)  The Governor‑General may, by Proclamation, declare that a Proclamation under section 39C or 39D is revoked on and from a specified day.

             (2)  If, under subsection (1), the Governor‑General declares that a Proclamation under section 39C or 39D is revoked:

                     (a)  this Part (including sections 39C and 39D) has effect as if the revoked Proclamation had not been made; but

                     (b)  the effect of the revoked Proclamation on the jurisdiction of courts before the specified day is not affected.

39F  Territory court does not have jurisdiction unless a party is ordinarily resident in the Territory

                   A court of a Territory must not hear or determine a de facto financial cause unless at least one of the parties to the proceedings is ordinarily resident in the Territory when the proceedings are instituted or are transferred to the court.

39G  Jurisdiction in relation to transferred matters under other Commonwealth laws

                   If proceedings in relation to a matter arising under a law of the Commonwealth are transferred under this Act or the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 to a court that has jurisdiction conferred on or invested in it by this Division, the jurisdiction so conferred on or invested in the court includes jurisdiction in relation to that matter.

Division 3Other provisions

40  Limitations on jurisdiction of Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) and of State and Territory Supreme Courts

             (1)  The regulations may provide that, from a date specified in the regulations (not being a date before the regulations are registered under the Legislation Act 2003), the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) under this Act or the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 in relation to all proceedings, or a specified class of proceedings, must not be exercised in a specified State or Territory, or in 2 or more specified States and Territories.

             (3)  The Governor‑General may, by Proclamation, fix a date as the date on and after which matrimonial causes, and other proceedings, referred to in subsection 39(5) may not be instituted in or transferred to the Supreme Court of a State or Territory specified in the Proclamation, or may be so instituted or transferred only where specified conditions are complied with, and such a Proclamation may be expressed to apply only to proceedings of a specified class or specified classes and may be expressed to apply only to the institution of proceedings in, or the transfer of proceedings to, a particular Registry or Registries of a Supreme Court referred to in the Proclamation.

             (4)  The Supreme Court of a State or Territory shall not hear and determine proceedings under this Act instituted in or transferred to that Court otherwise than in accordance with any Proclamation in force under subsection (3), but nothing in this section invalidates a decree made by such a Supreme Court.

          (4A)  The Governor‑General may, by Proclamation, declare that a Proclamation made under subsection (3) is revoked on and from a specified date and, on and after the specified date, this Act (including subsection (3)) has effect as if the revoked Proclamation had not been made, but without prejudice to the effect of the revoked Proclamation in respect of the jurisdiction of courts before the specified date.

             (5)  Proclamations under subsection (3) may be made from time to time.

             (6)  A party to proceedings instituted or continued under this Act that are at any time pending in the Supreme Court of a State or Territory, being proceedings that could, at the date of the application under this subsection, have been instituted in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2), may apply to that Court for an order transferring the proceedings to the Court, and the Court may order accordingly.

             (7)  The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) Rules and the related Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) Rules may make provision in relation to matters arising in or in connexion with the transfer of proceedings in accordance with an order under subsection (6).

             (8)  This section does not apply in relation to proceedings under Part VII or in relation to jurisdiction conferred on a federal court or a court of a Territory, or invested in a court of a State, by regulations made for the purposes of section 111C.

41  Establishment of State Family Courts

             (1)  As soon as practicable after the commencement of this Act, the Commonwealth Government shall take steps with a view to the making of agreements with the governments of the States providing for the creation of State courts to be known as Family Courts, being agreements under which the Commonwealth Government will provide the necessary funds for the establishment and administration of those courts (including the provision of counselling facilities for those courts).

             (2)  Where, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, a State has created a court known as a Family Court, the Governor‑General may, by Proclamation, declare that, on and after a date specified in the Proclamation, this section applies to that court.

             (3)  Where, by virtue of a Proclamation under subsection (2), this section applies to a court, this Act has effect in relation to the institution of proceedings on or after the date fixed by the Proclamation, and in relation to proceedings so instituted and proceedings transferred to that court in accordance with this Act, as if references in sections 39, 46, 47A and 47B of this Act and subsection 26(1) of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021 to the Supreme Court of a State were, in relation to the State in which the court referred to in the Proclamation is established, references to that court, and that court is invested with federal jurisdiction accordingly.

          (3A)  Notwithstanding the issue of a Proclamation under subsection (2) and the provisions of subsection (3):

                     (a)  proceedings by way of cross‑proceedings in relation to proceedings for principal relief that were pending in the Supreme Court of the State concerned immediately before the date fixed by the Proclamation; or

                     (b)  proceedings of a kind referred to in any of paragraphs (c) to (f) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1) that:

                              (i)  relate to proceedings for principal relief that were pending in the Supreme Court of the State concerned immediately before the date fixed by the Proclamation; or

                             (ii)  are between parties between whom proceedings of a kind referred to in any of paragraphs (c) to (f) of that definition were so pending immediately before that date;

may be instituted, heard and determined in that Supreme Court on or after the date fixed by the Proclamation.

             (4)  The Governor‑General shall not make a Proclamation under this section in respect of a court unless the Governor‑General is satisfied that:

                     (a)  arrangements have been made under which Judges will not be appointed to that court except with the approval of the Attorney‑General of the Commonwealth;

                     (b)  Judges appointed to that court are by reason of training, experience and personality, suitable persons to deal with matters of family law and cannot hold office beyond the age of 70 years; and

                     (c)  appropriate family counselling and family dispute resolution services, and family consultants, will be available to that court.

          (4A)  A party to proceedings instituted or continued under this Act that are at any time pending in the Supreme Court of a State or Territory, being proceedings that could, at the date of the application under this subsection, have been instituted in a Family Court of a State, may apply to a Family Court of a State for an order transferring the proceedings to that Court, and the Court may order accordingly.

             (5)  References in this Act or the applicable Rules of Court to a court of summary jurisdiction shall not be read as including references to a court to which this section applies.

42  Law to be applied

             (1)  The jurisdiction conferred on a court, or with which a court is invested, by this Act shall be exercised in accordance with this Act and the applicable Rules of Court.

             (2)  Where it would be in accordance with the common law rules of private international law to apply the laws of any country or place (including a State or Territory), the court shall, subject to the provisions of the Marriage Act 1961, apply the laws of that country or place.

Note:          Subdivision D of Division 4 of Part XIIIAA (Applicable law) may affect the law to be applied by a court.

43  Principles to be applied by courts

             (1)  A court exercising jurisdiction under this Act must, in the exercise of that jurisdiction, have regard to:

                     (a)  the need to preserve and protect the institution of marriage as the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others voluntarily entered into for life;

                     (b)  the need to give the widest possible protection and assistance to the family as the natural and fundamental group unit of society, particularly while it is responsible for the care and education of dependent children;

                     (c)  the need to protect the rights of children and to promote their welfare;

                    (ca)  the need to ensure protection from family violence; and

                     (d)  the means available for assisting parties to a marriage to consider reconciliation or the improvement of their relationship to each other and to their children.

             (2)  Paragraph (1)(a) does not apply in relation to the exercise of jurisdiction conferred or invested by Division 2.

44  Institution of proceedings

             (1)  Except as otherwise prescribed by the regulations or by the applicable Rules of Court, proceedings under this Act shall be instituted by application.

Proceedings in relation to marriages

          (1A)  Proceedings under this Act for:

                     (a)  a divorce order in relation to a marriage; or

                     (b)  a decree of nullity of marriage;

may be instituted by either party to the marriage or jointly by both parties to the marriage.

Limitation on applications for divorce orders within 2 years of marriage

          (1B)  An application for a divorce order in relation to a marriage shall not, without the leave of the court granted under subsection (1C), be filed within the period of 2 years after the date of the marriage unless there is filed with the application a certificate:

                     (a)  stating that the parties to the marriage have considered a reconciliation with the assistance of a specified person, who is:

                              (i)  a family counsellor; or

                             (ii)  if the court is the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) or the Family Court of a State—an individual or an organisation nominated for the parties by a family consultant; or

                            (iii)  if the court is not the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) or the Family Court of a State—an individual or an organisation nominated for the parties by an appropriately qualified officer of the court; and

                     (b)  signed by that person or on behalf of that organisation, as the case may be.

          (1C)  Notwithstanding subsection (1B), if the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances by reason of which the hearing of an application for a divorce order in relation to a marriage should proceed notwithstanding that the parties have not considered a reconciliation with assistance of the kind referred to in subsection (1B), the court may:

                     (a)  if the application has not been filed—give leave for the application to be filed; or

                     (b)  if the application has been filed—at any time before or during the hearing of the application, declare that it is so satisfied;

and, where the court makes a declaration under paragraph (b), the application shall be deemed to have been duly filed and everything done pursuant to that application shall be as valid and effectual as if the court had, before the application was filed, given leave under paragraph (a) for the application to be filed.

Limitation on applications relating to certain maintenance and property proceedings

             (3)  Where, whether before or after the commencement of section 21 of the Family Law Amendment Act 1983:

                     (a)  a divorce order has taken effect; or

                     (b)  a decree of nullity of marriage has been made;

proceedings of a kind referred to in paragraph (c), (caa), (ca) or (cb) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1) (not being proceedings under section 78 or 79A or proceedings seeking the discharge, suspension, revival or variation of an order previously made in proceedings with respect to the maintenance of a party) shall not be instituted, except by leave of the court in which the proceedings are to be instituted or with the consent of both of the parties to the marriage, after the expiration of 12 months after:

                     (c)  in a case referred to in paragraph (a)—the date on which the divorce order took effect; or

                     (d)  in a case referred to in paragraph (b)—the date of the making of the decree.

The court may grant such leave at any time, even if the proceedings have already been instituted.

       (3AA)  However, if such proceedings are instituted with the consent of both of the parties to the marriage, the court may dismiss the proceedings if it is satisfied that, because the consent was obtained by fraud, duress or unconscionable conduct, allowing the proceedings to continue would amount to a miscarriage of justice.

          (3A)  Notwithstanding subsection (3), where, whether before or after the commencement of section 21 of the Family Law Amendment Act 1983:

                     (a)  a divorce order has taken effect or a decree of nullity of marriage has been made; and

                     (b)  the approval under section 87 of a maintenance agreement between the parties to the marriage has been revoked;

proceedings of a kind referred to in paragraph (c), (caa), (ca) or (cb) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1) (not being proceedings under section 78 or 79A or proceedings seeking the discharge, suspension, revival or variation of an order previously made in proceedings with respect to the maintenance of a party) may be instituted:

                     (c)  within the period of 12 months after:

                              (i)  the date on which the divorce order took effect or the date of the making of the decree of nullity, as the case may be; or

                             (ii)  the date on which the approval of the maintenance agreement was revoked;

                            whichever is the later; or

                     (d)  with the leave of the court in which the proceedings are to be instituted;

and not otherwise.

          (3B)  Despite subsection (3), if, whether before or after the commencement of Schedule 2 to the Family Law Amendment Act 2000:

                     (a)  a divorce order has taken effect or a decree of nullity of marriage has been made; and

                     (b)  a financial agreement between the parties to the marriage has been set aside under section 90K or found to be invalid under section 90KA;

proceedings of a kind referred to in paragraph (c), (caa), (ca) or (cb) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1) (not being proceedings under section 78 or 79A or proceedings seeking the discharge, suspension, revival or variation of an order previously made in proceedings with respect to the maintenance of a party) may be instituted:

                     (c)  within the period of 12 months after the later of:

                              (i)  the date on which the divorce order took effect or the date of the making of the decree of nullity, as the case may be; or

                             (ii)  the date on which the financial agreement was set aside, or found to be invalid, as the case may be; or

                     (d)  with the leave of the court in which the proceedings are to be instituted;

and not otherwise.

             (4)  The court shall not grant leave under subsection (3) or (3A) unless it is satisfied:

                     (a)  that hardship would be caused to a party to the relevant marriage or a child if leave were not granted; or

                     (b)  in the case of proceedings in relation to the maintenance of a party to a marriage—that, at the end of the period within which the proceedings could have been instituted without the leave of the court, the circumstances of the applicant were such that the applicant would have been unable to support himself or herself without an income tested pension, allowance or benefit.

Proceedings in relation to de facto relationships

             (5)  Subject to subsection (6), a party to a de facto relationship may apply for an order under section 90SE, 90SG or 90SM, or a declaration under section 90SL, only if:

                     (a)  the application is made within the period (the standard application period) of:

                              (i)  2 years after the end of the de facto relationship; or

                             (ii)  12 months after a financial agreement between the parties to the de facto relationship was set aside, or found to be invalid, as the case may be; or

                     (b)  both parties to the de facto relationship consent to the application.

          (5A)  However, if proceedings are instituted by an application made with the consent of both of the parties to the de facto relationship, the court may dismiss the proceedings if it is satisfied that, because the consent was obtained by fraud, duress or unconscionable conduct, allowing the proceedings to continue would amount to a miscarriage of justice.

             (6)  The court may grant the party leave to apply after the end of the standard application period if the court is satisfied that:

                     (a)  hardship would be caused to the party or a child if leave were not granted; or

                     (b)  in the case of an application for an order for the maintenance of the party—the party’s circumstances were, at the end of the standard application period, such that he or she would have been unable to support himself or herself without an income tested pension, allowance or benefit.

44A  Proceedings for divorce order

                   The regulations may provide that proceedings for a divorce order may not be instituted in, or transferred to, a court of summary jurisdiction other than a prescribed court.

45  Stay and transfer of proceedings

             (1)  Where there are pending in a court proceedings that have been instituted under this Act and it appears to that court that other proceedings that have been so instituted in relation to the same marriage or void marriage or the same matter are pending in another court, the first‑mentioned court may stay the first‑mentioned proceedings for such time as it considers appropriate or may dismiss the proceedings.

          (1A)  For the purposes of subsection (1), if the bankruptcy trustee of a bankrupt party to a marriage applies under section 139A of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 for an order under Division 4A of Part VI of that Act, proceedings relating to that application are taken to be proceedings under this Act in relation to the marriage.

          (1B)  For the purposes of subsection (1):

                     (a)  a de facto financial cause instituted in relation to a de facto relationship; and

                     (b)  proceedings relating to an application, by the bankruptcy trustee of one of the parties to the de facto relationship, under section 139A of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 for an order under Division 4A of Part VI of that Act;

are taken to be proceedings under this Act in relation to the same matter.

          (1C)  For the purposes of subsection (1), the first proceedings set out in each item of following table, and the second proceedings set out in that item, are taken to relate to the same matter if one of the parties to each marriage, void marriage or de facto relationship referred to in that item is the same.

 

Proceedings relating to the same matter

Item

First proceedings

Second proceedings

1

a matrimonial cause instituted in relation to a marriage (or void marriage)

a de facto financial cause instituted in relation to a de facto relationship

2

a de facto financial cause instituted in relation to a de facto relationship

a de facto financial cause instituted in relation to a de facto relationship

             (2)  Where there are pending in a court proceedings that have been instituted under this Act and it appears to that court that it is in the interests of justice, or of convenience to the parties, that the proceedings be dealt with in another court having jurisdiction under this Act, the court may transfer the proceedings to the other court. However, this subsection does not apply to particular proceedings if:

                     (a)  the first‑mentioned court is the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) and the other court is the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                     (b)  the first‑mentioned court is the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) and the other court is the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1).

Note 1:       For transfers from the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2), see section 52 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021.

Note 2:       For transfers from the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1), see sections 51 and 149 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021.

             (3)  A transfer under subsection (2) may be made on the application of any party to the proceedings.

             (4)  A transfer under subsection (2) may be made on the transferring court’s own initiative if the transfer is:

                     (a)  from a Family Court of a State to a court of summary jurisdiction prescribed in regulations made for the purposes of section 44A; or

                     (b)  from a court of summary jurisdiction prescribed in those regulations to a Family Court of a State.

45A  Summary decrees

No reasonable prospect of successfully defending proceedings

             (1)  The court may make a decree for one party against another in relation to the whole or any part of proceedings if:

                     (a)  the first party is prosecuting the proceedings or that part of the proceedings; and

                     (b)  the court is satisfied that the other party has no reasonable prospect of successfully defending the proceedings or that part of the proceedings.

No reasonable prospect of successfully prosecuting proceedings

             (2)  The court may make a decree for one party against another in relation to the whole or any part of a proceedings if:

                     (a)  the first party is defending the proceedings or that part of the proceedings; and

                     (b)  the court is satisfied that the other party has no reasonable prospect of successfully prosecuting the proceedings or that part of the proceedings.

When there is no reasonable prospect of success

             (3)  For the purposes of this section, a defence or proceedings or part of proceedings need not be:

                     (a)  hopeless; or

                     (b)  bound to fail;

to have no reasonable prospect of success.

Proceedings that are frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process

             (4)  The court may dismiss all or part of proceedings at any stage if it is satisfied that the proceedings or part is frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process.

             (5)  To avoid doubt, proceedings or a part of proceedings are not frivolous, vexatious or an abuse or process merely because an application relating to the proceedings or the part is made and later withdrawn.

Costs

             (6)  If the court makes a decree, or dismisses all or part of proceedings, under this section, the court may make such order as to costs as the court considers just.

Action by court on its own initiative or on application

             (7)  The court may take action under this section on its own initiative or on application by a party to the proceedings.

This section does not limit other powers

             (8)  This section does not limit any powers that the court has apart from this section.

Note:          Part XIB also gives courts powers relating to vexatious proceedings.

46  Transfer of proceedings from court of summary jurisdiction in certain cases

             (1)  Where proceedings are instituted in or transferred to a court of summary jurisdiction in a State or Territory, in relation to property of a total value exceeding the amount referred to in section 46A, and the respondent, in answer to the application by which the proceedings were instituted, seeks an order different from that sought in the application:

                     (a)  the court must, before proceeding to hear and determine the proceedings, inform the parties that, unless each of them consents to the court hearing and determining the proceedings, the court is required to transfer the proceedings to:

                              (i)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                             (ii)  a Family Court of a State; or

                            (iii)  the Supreme Court of a State or Territory; and

                     (b)  unless the parties consent to the court hearing and determining the proceedings—the court must transfer the proceedings to:

                              (i)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                             (ii)  a Family Court of a State; or

                            (iii)  the Supreme Court of a State or Territory.

       (1AA)  Subsection (1) does not apply if the court of summary jurisdiction is the Magistrates Court of Western Australia constituted by a Family Law Magistrate of Western Australia.

          (1A)  A reference in subsection (1) to proceedings with respect to property does not include a reference to proceedings with respect to arrears of maintenance.

       (1AB)  In determining the value of any property for the purposes of subsection (1), any mortgage, lien, charge or other security over the property is to be disregarded.

          (1B)  Subject to subsection (1C), if:

                     (a)  proceedings referred to in subsection (1) are instituted in or transferred to a court of summary jurisdiction; and

                     (b)  the parties consent to the proceedings being heard and determined by that court;

a party is not entitled subsequently to object to the proceedings being so heard and determined.

          (1C)  If the court subsequently gives leave to a party to object to the proceedings being so heard and determined, the court must transfer the proceedings to:

                     (a)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                     (b)  a Family Court of a State; or

                     (c)  the Supreme Court of a State or Territory.

             (2)  Where proceedings referred to in subsection (1) are before it, the court may transfer the proceedings of its own motion, notwithstanding that the parties would be willing for the court to hear and determine the proceedings.

          (2A)  If:

                     (a)  proceedings for a divorce order have been instituted in or transferred to a court of summary jurisdiction; and

                     (b)  the proceedings are defended;

the court is required to transfer the proceedings to:

                     (c)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2); or

                     (d)  a Family Court of a State; or

                     (e)  the Supreme Court of a State or Territory.

          (2B)  Subsection (2A) does not apply if the court of summary jurisdiction is the Magistrates Court of Western Australia constituted by a Family Law Magistrate of Western Australia.

             (3)  Before transferring proceedings under subsection (1) or (2A), the court may make such orders as it considers necessary pending the disposal of the proceedings by the court to which they are to be transferred.

          (3A)  If proceedings instituted under this Act are pending in a court of summary jurisdiction, each of the following Courts:

                     (a)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2);

                     (b)  a Family Court of a State;

                     (c)  the Supreme Court of a State or Territory;

may, on the application of a party or of its own motion, order that the proceedings be removed to that Court.

             (4)  Where proceedings are transferred or removed to a court in pursuance of this section, that court shall proceed as if the proceedings had been originally instituted in that court.

             (5)  Without prejudice to the duty of a court of summary jurisdiction to comply with this section, failure by such a court so to comply does not invalidate any order of the court in the proceedings.

46A  Prescribing value of property for the purposes of section 46

             (1)  For the purposes of subsection 46(1), the amount is:

                     (a)  $20,000; or

                     (b)  if a higher amount is prescribed by regulations for the State or Territory in which the court of summary jurisdiction referred to in that subsection is located—that higher amount.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), a higher amount may be prescribed by referring to the jurisdiction conferred on a court of summary jurisdiction under a law of the State or Territory, as in force from time to time.

Consultation with State and Territories

             (3)  Before the Governor‑General makes regulations for the purposes of subsection (1) in relation to a particular State or Territory, the Minister must be satisfied that the Minister with responsibility for courts in that State or Territory has been consulted.

             (4)  Subsection (3) does not limit section 17 of the Legislation Act 2003 (rule‑makers should consult before making legislative instrument).

47  Courts to act in aid of each other

                   All courts having jurisdiction under this Act shall severally act in aid of and be auxiliary to each other in all matters under this Act.

Division 4Appeals

47A  Appeals from courts of summary jurisdiction

             (1)  Subject to section 47B, an appeal lies from a decree of a court of summary jurisdiction of a State or Territory exercising jurisdiction under:

                     (a)  this Act; or

                     (b)  the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989; or

                     (c)  the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988;

to:

                     (d)  the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1); or

                     (e)  the Supreme Court of that State or Territory.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to a decree of the Magistrates Court of Western Australia constituted by a Family Law Magistrate of Western Australia.

             (3)  An appeal under subsection (1) must be instituted within:

                     (a)  in the case of an appeal to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1):

                              (i)  the time prescribed by the Federal Circuit and Family Court (Division 1) Rules; or

                             (ii)  such further time as is allowed in accordance with those Rules; and

                     (b)  in any other case:

                              (i)  the time prescribed by the standard Rules of Court; or

                             (ii)  such further time as is allowed in accordance with those Rules.

             (4)  The Supreme Court of each State is invested with federal jurisdiction, and jurisdiction is conferred on the Supreme Court of each Territory, with respect to matters arising under this Act, in respect of which appeals are instituted under this section.

Note:          For jurisdiction in relation to child support legislation, see section 101 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 and section 106 of the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988.

             (5)  The Governor‑General may, by Proclamation, fix a date as the date on or after which appeals to the Supreme Court of a specified State or Territory under this section may not be instituted, and such a Proclamation may be expressed to apply only to proceedings of a specified class or specified classes.

             (6)  The court hearing an appeal under this section:

                     (a)  must proceed by way of a hearing de novo, but may receive as evidence any record of evidence given, including any affidavit filed or exhibit received, in the court of summary jurisdiction; and

                     (b)  must have regard to the evidence given in the proceedings out of which the appeal arose and has power to draw inferences of fact and, in its discretion, to receive further evidence upon questions of fact, which may be given:

                              (i)  by affidavit; or

                             (ii)  by oral examination before the court; or

                            (iii)  as provided for in Division 2 of Part XI; and

                     (c)  may make such decrees as the court considers appropriate, including a decree affirming, reversing or varying the decree the subject of the appeal.

Decrees made in section 69GA proceedings treated like decrees of courts of summary jurisdiction

             (7)  This section applies in relation to a decree of a court made in section 69GA proceedings in the same way as this section would apply in relation to a decree of a court of summary jurisdiction.

47B  Leave to appeal needed for child support matters

             (1)  Leave of a single Judge of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) is required to appeal to the Court from a decree of a court of summary jurisdiction of a State or Territory exercising jurisdiction under:

                     (a)  the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989; or

                     (b)  the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988.

             (2)  Leave of the Supreme Court of a State or Territory is required to appeal to the Court from a decree of a court of summary jurisdiction of that State or Territory exercising jurisdiction under:

                     (a)  the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989; or

                     (b)  the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988.

             (3)  An application for leave to appeal must be made within:

                     (a)  in the case of leave of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1):

                              (i)  the time prescribed by the Federal Circuit and Family Court (Division 1) Rules; or

                             (ii)  such further time as is allowed in accordance with those Rules; and

                     (b)  in any other case:

                              (i)  the time prescribed by the standard Rules of Court; or

                             (ii)  such further time as is allowed in accordance with those Rules.

             (4)  The applicable Rules of Court may make provision for enabling applications for leave to be dealt with, subject to conditions prescribed by the Rules, without an oral hearing.

47C  Appeal may be dismissed if no reasonable prospect of success

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  an appeal has been instituted in a court under this Division; and

                     (b)  it appears to the court that the appeal has no reasonable prospect of success;

the court may, at any time, order that the proceedings on the appeal be dismissed.

             (2)  This section does not limit any powers that the court has apart from this section.

47D  Appeals to High Court may not be brought

             (1)  An appeal must not be brought directly to the High Court from a decree of the following courts exercising jurisdiction under this Act:

                     (a)  a court of summary jurisdiction of a State or Territory;

                     (b)  a Family Court of a State;

                     (c)  a Supreme Court of a State or Territory constituted by a single Judge.

Note:          In relation to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, see sections 55 and 155 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021.

             (2)  If, apart from this subsection, subsection (1) is to any extent inconsistent with section 73 of the Constitution, this Act has effect as if the words “, except by special leave of the High Court” were inserted after the words “this Act” in subsection (1).

47E  Regulations to be sole source of certain appellate jurisdiction

                   Despite the provisions of this Division, a court has appellate jurisdiction in relation to a matter arising under regulations made for the purposes of section 111C only as provided by those regulations.

Part VIDivorce and nullity of marriage

  

48  Divorce

             (1)  An application under this Act for a divorce order in relation to a marriage shall be based on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

             (2)  Subject to subsection (3), in a proceeding instituted by such an application, the ground shall be held to have been established, and the divorce order shall be made, if, and only if, the court is satisfied that the parties separated and thereafter lived separately and apart for a continuous period of not less than 12 months immediately preceding the date of the filing of the application for the divorce order.

             (3)  A divorce order shall not be made if the court is satisfied that there is a reasonable likelihood of cohabitation being resumed.

49  Meaning of separation

             (1)  The parties to a marriage may be held to have separated notwithstanding that the cohabitation was brought to an end by the action or conduct of one only of the parties.

             (2)  The parties to a marriage may be held to have separated and to have lived separately and apart notwithstanding that they have continued to reside in the same residence or that either party has rendered some household services to the other.

50  Effect of resumption of cohabitation

             (1)  For the purposes of proceedings for a divorce order, where, after the parties to the marriage separated, they resumed cohabitation on one occasion but, within a period of 3 months after the resumption of cohabitation, they again separated and thereafter lived separately and apart up to the date of the filing of the application, the periods of living separately and apart before and after the period of cohabitation may be aggregated as if they were one continuous period, but the period of cohabitation shall not be deemed to be part of the period of living separately and apart.

             (2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), a period of cohabitation shall be deemed to have continued during any interruption of the cohabitation that, in the opinion of the court, was not substantial.

51  Nullity of marriage

                   An application under this Act for a decree of nullity of marriage shall be based on the ground that the marriage is void.

52  Court not to make divorce order where application for decree of nullity before it

                   Where both an application for a decree of nullity of a marriage and an application for a divorce order in relation to that marriage are before a court, the court shall not make a divorce order in relation to the marriage unless it has dismissed the application for a decree of nullity of the marriage.

53  Circumstances occurring before commencement of Act or outside Australia

                   A decree may be made, or refused, under this Part by reason of facts and circumstances notwithstanding that those facts and circumstances, or some of them, took place before the commencement of this Act or outside Australia.

55  When divorce order takes effect

             (1)  Subject to this section, a divorce order made under this Act takes effect by force of this section:

                     (a)  at the expiration of a period of 1 month from the making of the order; or

                     (b)  from the making of an order under section 55A;

whichever is the later.

             (2)  If a divorce order has been made in any proceedings, the court of first instance (whether or not it made the order), or a court in which an appeal has been instituted, may, either before or after it has disposed of the proceedings or appeal, and whether or not a previous order has been made under this subsection:

                     (a)  make an order extending the period at the expiration of which the divorce order will take effect, having regard to the possibility of an appeal or further appeal; or

                     (b)  make an order reducing the period at the expiration of which the divorce order will take effect if it is satisfied that there are special circumstances that justify its so doing.

             (3)  If an appeal is instituted (whether or not it is the first appeal) before a divorce order has taken effect, then, notwithstanding any order in force under subsection (2) at the time of the institution of the appeal but subject to any such order made after the institution of the appeal, the divorce order, unless reversed or rescinded, takes effect by force of this section:

                     (a)  at the expiration of a period of 1 month from the day on which the appeal is determined or discontinued; or

                     (b)  on the day on which the divorce order would have taken effect under subsection (1) if no appeal had been instituted;

whichever is the later.

             (4)  A divorce order does not take effect by force of this section if either of the parties to the marriage has died.

             (5)  In this section:

appeal, in relation to a divorce order, means:

                     (a)  an appeal, or an application for leave to appeal, against:

                              (i)  the divorce order; or

                             (ii)  an order under section 55A in relation to the proceedings in which the divorce order was made; or

                     (b)  an intervention, or an application for a re‑hearing, relating to:

                              (i)  the divorce order; or

                             (ii)  an order under section 55A in relation to the proceedings in which the divorce order was made; or

                     (c)  an application under section 57 or 58 for rescission of the divorce order, or an appeal or application for leave to appeal arising out of such an application; or

                     (d)  a review by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) of the making, by the Chief Executive Officer, or a Senior Registrar or Registrar of that Court, of:

                              (i)  the divorce order; or

                             (ii)  an order under section 55A in relation to the proceedings in which the divorce order was made; or

                            (iii)  an order determining an application under section 57 or 58 for rescission of the divorce order; or

                     (e)  a review by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) of the making, by the Chief Executive Officer, or a Senior Registrar or Registrar of that Court, of:

                              (i)  the divorce order; or

                             (ii)  an order under section 55A in relation to the proceedings in which the divorce order was made; or

                            (iii)  an order determining an application under section 57 or 58 for rescission of the divorce order; or

                      (f)  a review by the Family Court of Western Australia of the making, by the Principal Registrar, a Registrar, or a Deputy Registrar, of that Court of:

                              (i)  the divorce order; or

                             (ii)  an order under section 55A in relation to the proceedings in which the divorce order was made; or

                            (iii)  an order determining an application under section 57 or 58 for rescission of the divorce order.

             (6)  For the purposes of this section, where an application for leave to appeal, or for a re‑hearing, is granted, the application shall be deemed not to have been determined or discontinued so long as:

                     (a)  the leave granted remains capable of being exercised; or

                     (b)  an appeal or re‑hearing instituted in pursuance of the leave is pending.

55A  Divorce order where children

             (1)  A divorce order in relation to a marriage does not take effect unless the court has, by order, declared that it is satisfied:

                     (a)  that there are no children of the marriage who have not attained 18 years of age; or

                     (b)  that the only children of the marriage who have not attained 18 years of age are the children specified in the order and that:

                              (i)  proper arrangements in all the circumstances have been made for the care, welfare and development of those children; or

                             (ii)  there are circumstances by reason of which the divorce order should take effect even though the court is not satisfied that such arrangements have been made.

             (2)  Where, in proceedings for a divorce order in relation to a marriage, the court doubts whether the arrangements made for the care, welfare and development of a child of the marriage are proper in all the circumstances, the court may adjourn the proceedings until a report has been obtained from a family consultant regarding those arrangements.

             (3)  For the purposes of this section, a child (including an ex‑nuptial child of either party to the marriage, a child adopted by either of them or a child who is not a child of either of them) is a child of the marriage if the child was treated by both parties to the marriage as a child of their family at the relevant time.

             (4)  For the purposes of subsection (3), the relevant time is the time immediately before the time when the parties to the marriage separated or, if they have separated on more than one occasion, the time immediately before the time when they last separated before the institution of the proceedings in which the divorce order was made.

56  Certificate as to divorce order

             (1)  If a divorce order takes effect, the Registry Manager of the court by which the order was made must prepare and file a memorandum of the fact and of the date on which the divorce order took effect.

             (2)  If a divorce order has taken effect, any person is entitled, on application to the Registry Manager of the court by which the divorce order was made, to receive a certificate that certifies that the divorce order has taken effect and is signed by:

                     (a)  if the court is the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1)—the Chief Executive Officer, or a Senior Registrar or Registrar of the Court; or

                     (b)  if the court is the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2)—the Chief Executive Officer, or a Senior Registrar or Registrar of the Court; or

                     (c)  in relation to any other court—the Registrar of that court.

             (3)  A certificate given under subsection (2) is, in all courts (whether exercising federal jurisdiction or not) and for all purposes, prima facie evidence of the matters specified in the certificate.

             (4)  The regulations may provide for the establishment of central records of decrees made under this Act and for the notification of decrees to the appropriate marriage registering authorities of the States and Territories.

57  Rescission of divorce order where parties reconciled

                   Despite anything contained in this Part, if a divorce order has been made in relation to a marriage, the court may, at any time before the order takes effect, upon the application of the parties to the marriage, rescind the divorce order on the ground that the parties have become reconciled.

58  Rescission of divorce order on ground of miscarriage of justice

                   If a divorce order has been made in proceedings but has not taken effect, the court by which the divorce order was made may, on the application of a party to the proceedings, or on the intervention of the Attorney‑General, if it is satisfied that there has been a miscarriage of justice by reason of fraud, perjury, suppression of evidence or any other circumstance, rescind the divorce order and, if it thinks fit, order that the proceedings be re‑heard.

59  Re‑marriage

                   If a divorce order under this Act in relation to a marriage has taken effect, a party to the marriage may marry again.

60  No appeal after divorce order takes effect

                   An appeal does not lie from a divorce order after the order takes effect.

Part VIIChildren

Division 1Introductory

Subdivision AWhat this Division does

60A  What this Division does

                   This Division contains:

                     (a)  a statement of the object of this Part and the principles underlying it, and an outline of this Part (Subdivision B); and

                    (aa)  provisions dealing with the best interests of the child in court proceedings (Subdivision BA); and

                   (ab)  provisions dealing with an adviser’s obligations in relation to the best interests of the child (Subdivision BB); and

                     (b)  provisions relevant to the interpretation and application of this Part (Subdivision C); and

                     (c)  provisions relevant to how this Act applies to certain children (Subdivision D); and

                     (d)  provisions about the use of family dispute resolution before applying for an order under this Part (Subdivision E).

Note:          The extension and application of this Part is also dealt with in Subdivision F of Division 12.

Subdivision BObject, principles and outline

60B  Objects of Part and principles underlying it

             (1)  The objects of this Part are to ensure that the best interests of children are met by:

                     (a)  ensuring that children have the benefit of both of their parents having a meaningful involvement in their lives, to the maximum extent consistent with the best interests of the child; and

                     (b)  protecting children from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence; and

                     (c)  ensuring that children receive adequate and proper parenting to help them achieve their full potential; and

                     (d)  ensuring that parents fulfil their duties, and meet their responsibilities, concerning the care, welfare and development of their children.

             (2)  The principles underlying these objects are that (except when it is or would be contrary to a child’s best interests):

                     (a)  children have the right to know and be cared for by both their parents, regardless of whether their parents are married, separated, have never married or have never lived together; and

                     (b)  children have a right to spend time on a regular basis with, and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development (such as grandparents and other relatives); and

                     (c)  parents jointly share duties and responsibilities concerning the care, welfare and development of their children; and

                     (d)  parents should agree about the future parenting of their children; and

                     (e)  children have a right to enjoy their culture (including the right to enjoy that culture with other people who share that culture).

             (3)  For the purposes of subparagraph (2)(e), an Aboriginal child’s or Torres Strait Islander child’s right to enjoy his or her Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture includes the right:

                     (a)  to maintain a connection with that culture; and

                     (b)  to have the support, opportunity and encouragement necessary:

                              (i)  to explore the full extent of that culture, consistent with the child’s age and developmental level and the child’s views; and

                             (ii)  to develop a positive appreciation of that culture.

             (4)  An additional object of this Part is to give effect to the Convention on the Rights of the Child done at New York on 20 November 1989.

Note:          The text of the Convention is set out in Australian Treaty Series 1991 No. 4 ([1991] ATS 4). In 2011, the text of a Convention in the Australian Treaty Series was accessible through the Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au).

60C  Outline of Part

                   An outline of this Part is set out below.

 

OUTLINE OF PART

Item

Divisions and coverage

1

Division 1—Introductory

·           object of Part and principles underlying it, and outline of Part

·           best interests of the child: court proceedings

·           best interests of the child: adviser’s obligations

·           interpretation and application of this Part

·           how this Act applies to certain children

·           family dispute resolution

Note:       The extension and application of this Part is also dealt with in Subdivision F of Division 12.

2

Division 2—Parental responsibility

·           the concept of parental responsibility

3

Division 3—Reports relating to children under 18

preparation of reports for use in proceedings relating to children under 18

4

Division 4—Parenting plans

·           what parenting plans are

5

Division 5—Parenting orders—what they are

·           what parenting orders are

6

Division 6—Parenting orders other than child maintenance orders

·           applying for and making parenting orders (other than child maintenance orders) after attending, if necessary, family dispute resolution (see section 60I)

·           general obligations created by parenting orders, other than child maintenance orders

·           measures to promote the exercise of parental responsibility

·           dealing with people who have been arrested

·           obligations under parenting orders, other than child maintenance orders, relating to taking or sending children from Australia

7

Division 7—Child maintenance orders

·           objects and principles relevant to the making of child maintenance orders

·           the relationship between Division 7 and the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989

·           applying for and making child maintenance orders

·           other aspects of courts’ powers in relation to child maintenance orders

·           varying the maintenance of certain children

·           when child maintenance orders stop being in force

·           recovery of amounts paid under maintenance orders

8

Division 8—Other matters relating to children

·           liability of a father to contribute towards child bearing expenses if he is not married to the child’s mother

·           orders for the location and recovery of children

·           reporting of allegations of child abuse and family violence

·           other orders about children

9

Division 9—Injunctions

·           proceedings for injunctions in relation to children

10

Division 10—The representation of the child’s interests

the representation of a child’s interests in proceedings by an independent children’s lawyer

11

Division 11—Family violence

·           the relationship between certain parenting orders and family violence orders

12

Division 12—Proceedings and jurisdiction

·           institution of proceedings and procedure

·           jurisdiction of courts

·           presumptions of parentage

·           parentage evidence

·           places and people to which this Part extends and applies

12A

Division 12A—Principles for conducting child‑related proceedings

·           principles for conducting proceedings under this Part and certain other incidental proceedings

·           duties and powers of the court related to giving effect to the principles

·           matters relating to evidence

13

Division 13—State, Territory and overseas orders

·           registration of State and Territory orders dealing with children

·           registration of overseas orders dealing with children

·           transmission of Australian orders to overseas jurisdictions

13A

Division 13A—Enforcement of orders affecting children

·           court may do any or all of the following:

(a) require a person who contravenes an order affecting children to participate in an appropriate post‑separation parenting program designed to help in the resolution of conflicts about parenting;

(b) make a further parenting order that compensates a person for time that a child did not spend with the person, or for time that a child did not live with the person, as a result of the contravention;

(c) adjourn the proceedings to enable an application to be made for a further parenting order;

·           court must take other action in respect of a person who contravenes an order affecting children if the court is satisfied:

(a) where the contravention is an initial contravention—that the person has behaved in a way that showed a serious disregard for his or her parenting obligations; or

(b) where the contravention is a second or subsequent contravention—that it is not appropriate for the person to be dealt with by requiring his or her attendance at a post‑separation parenting program;

14

Division 14—Miscellaneous

·           miscellaneous matters relating to children

Subdivision BABest interests of the child: court proceedings

60CA  Child’s best interests paramount consideration in making a parenting order

                   In deciding whether to make a particular parenting order in relation to a child, a court must regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.

60CB  Proceedings to which Subdivision applies

             (1)  This Subdivision applies to any proceedings under this Part in which the best interests of a child are the paramount consideration.

Note:          Division 10 also allows a court to make an order for a child’s interests to be independently represented by a lawyer in proceedings under this Part in which the best interests of a child are the paramount consideration.

             (2)  This Subdivision also applies to proceedings, in relation to a child, to which subsection 60G(2), 63F(2) or 63F(6) or section 68R applies.

60CC  How a court determines what is in a child’s best interests

Determining child’s best interests

             (1)  Subject to subsection (5), in determining what is in the child’s best interests, the court must consider the matters set out in subsections (2) and (3).

Note:          Section 68P also limits the effect of this section on a court making decisions under that section about limiting, or not providing, an explanation to a child of an order or injunction that is inconsistent with a family violence order.

Primary considerations

             (2)  The primary considerations are:

                     (a)  the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and

                     (b)  the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

Note:          Making these considerations the primary ones is consistent with the objects of this Part set out in paragraphs 60B(1)(a) and (b).

          (2A)  In applying the considerations set out in subsection (2), the court is to give greater weight to the consideration set out in paragraph (2)(b).

Additional considerations

             (3)  Additional considerations are:

                     (a)  any views expressed by the child and any factors (such as the child’s maturity or level of understanding) that the court thinks are relevant to the weight it should give to the child’s views;

                     (b)  the nature of the relationship of the child with:

                              (i)  each of the child’s parents; and

                             (ii)  other persons (including any grandparent or other relative of the child);

                     (c)  the extent to which each of the child’s parents has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity:

                              (i)  to participate in making decisions about major long‑term issues in relation to the child; and

                             (ii)  to spend time with the child; and

                            (iii)  to communicate with the child;

                    (ca)  the extent to which each of the child’s parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parent’s obligations to maintain the child;

                     (d)  the likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances, including the likely effect on the child of any separation from:

                              (i)  either of his or her parents; or

                             (ii)  any other child, or other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child), with whom he or she has been living;

                     (e)  the practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent and whether that difficulty or expense will substantially affect the child’s right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis;

                      (f)  the capacity of:

                              (i)  each of the child’s parents; and

                             (ii)  any other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child);

                            to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs;

                     (g)  the maturity, sex, lifestyle and background (including lifestyle, culture and traditions) of the child and of either of the child’s parents, and any other characteristics of the child that the court thinks are relevant;

                     (h)  if the child is an Aboriginal child or a Torres Strait Islander child:

                              (i)  the child’s right to enjoy his or her Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture (including the right to enjoy that culture with other people who share that culture); and

                             (ii)  the likely impact any proposed parenting order under this Part will have on that right;

                      (i)  the attitude to the child, and to the responsibilities of parenthood, demonstrated by each of the child’s parents;

                      (j)  any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family;

                     (k)  if a family violence order applies, or has applied, to the child or a member of the child’s family—any relevant inferences that can be drawn from the order, taking into account the following:

                              (i)  the nature of the order;

                             (ii)  the circumstances in which the order was made;

                            (iii)  any evidence admitted in proceedings for the order;

                            (iv)  any findings made by the court in, or in proceedings for, the order;

                             (v)  any other relevant matter;

                      (l)  whether it would be preferable to make the order that would be least likely to lead to the institution of further proceedings in relation to the child;

                    (m)  any other fact or circumstance that the court thinks is relevant.

Consent orders

             (5)  If the court is considering whether to make an order with the consent of all the parties to the proceedings, the court may, but is not required to, have regard to all or any of the matters set out in subsection (2) or (3).

Right to enjoy Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture

             (6)  For the purposes of paragraph (3)(h), an Aboriginal child’s or a Torres Strait Islander child’s right to enjoy his or her Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture includes the right:

                     (a)  to maintain a connection with that culture; and

                     (b)  to have the support, opportunity and encouragement necessary:

                              (i)  to explore the full extent of that culture, consistent with the child’s age and developmental level and the child’s views; and

                             (ii)  to develop a positive appreciation of that culture.

60CD  How the views of a child are expressed

             (1)  Paragraph 60CC(3)(a) requires the court to consider any views expressed by a child in deciding whether to make a particular parenting order in relation to the child. This section deals with how the court informs itself of views expressed by a child.

             (2)  The court may inform itself of views expressed by a child:

                     (a)  by having regard to anything contained in a report given to the court under subsection 62G(2); or

                     (b)  by making an order under section 68L for the child’s interests in the proceedings to be independently represented by a lawyer; or

                     (c)  subject to the applicable Rules of Court, by such other means as the court thinks appropriate.

Note 1:       Paragraph (a)—subsection 62G(3A) generally requires the person giving the report to ascertain the child’s views and include those views in the report.

Note 2:       Paragraph (b)—paragraph 68LA(5)(b) requires the independent children’s lawyer for the child to ensure that the child’s views are fully put before the court.

60CE  Children not required to express views

                   Nothing in this Part permits the court or any person to require the child to express his or her views in relation to any matter.

60CF  Informing court of relevant family violence orders

             (1)  If a party to the proceedings is aware that a family violence order applies to the child, or a member of the child’s family, that party must inform the court of the family violence order.

             (2)  If a person who is not a party to the proceedings is aware that a family violence order applies to the child, or a member of the child’s family, that person may inform the court of the family violence order.

             (3)  Failure to inform the court of the family violence order does not affect the validity of any order made by the court.

60CG  Court to consider risk of family violence

             (1)  In considering what order to make, the court must, to the extent that it is possible to do so consistently with the child’s best interests being the paramount consideration, ensure that the order:

                     (a)  is consistent with any family violence order; and

                     (b)  does not expose a person to an unacceptable risk of family violence.

             (2)  For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), the court may include in the order any safeguards that it considers necessary for the safety of those affected by the order.

60CH  Informing court of care arrangements under child welfare laws

             (1)  If a party to the proceedings is aware that the child, or another child who is a member of the child’s family, is under the care (however described) of a person under a child welfare law, that party must inform the court of the matter.

             (2)  If a person who is not a party to the proceedings is aware that the child, or another child who is a member of the child’s family, is under the care (however described) of a person under a child welfare law, that person may inform the court of the matter.

             (3)  Failure to inform the court of the matter does not affect the validity of any order made by the court. However, this subsection does not limit the operation of section 69ZK (child welfare laws not affected).

60CI  Informing court of notifications to, and investigations by, prescribed State or Territory agencies

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  a party to the proceedings is aware that the child, or another child who is a member of the child’s family, is or has been the subject of:

                              (i)  a notification or report (however described) to a prescribed State or Territory agency; or

                             (ii)  an investigation, inquiry or assessment (however described) by a prescribed State or Territory agency; and

                     (b)  the notification, report, investigation, inquiry or assessment relates to abuse, or an allegation, suspicion or risk of abuse;

that party must inform the court of the matter.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  a person who is not a party to the proceedings is aware that the child, or another child who is a member of the child’s family, is or has been the subject of:

                              (i)  a notification or report (however described) to a prescribed State or Territory agency; or

                             (ii)  an investigation, inquiry or assessment (however described) by a prescribed State or Territory agency; and

                     (b)  the notification, report, investigation, inquiry or assessment relates to abuse, or an allegation, suspicion or risk of abuse;

that person may inform the court of the matter.

             (3)  Failure to inform the court of the matter does not affect the validity of any order made by the court.

             (4)  In this section:

prescribed State or Territory agency means an agency that is a prescribed State or Territory agency for the purpose of section 69ZW.

Subdivision BBBest interests of the child: adviser’s obligations

60D  Adviser’s obligations in relation to best interests of the child

             (1)  If an adviser gives advice or assistance to a person about matters concerning a child and this Part, the adviser must:

                     (a)  inform the person that the person should regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration; and

                     (b)  encourage the person to act on the basis that the child’s best interests are best met:

                              (i)  by the child having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and

                             (ii)  by the child being protected from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence; and

                            (iii)  in applying the considerations set out in subparagraphs (i) and (ii)—by giving greater weight to the consideration set out in subparagraph (ii).

             (2)  In this section:

adviser means a person who is:

                     (a)  a legal practitioner; or

                     (b)  a family counsellor; or

                     (c)  a family dispute resolution practitioner; or

                     (d)  a family consultant.

Subdivision CInterpretation and application of Part

60E  Application of Part to void marriages

                   This Part applies in relation to a purported marriage that is void as if the purported marriage were a marriage.

Subdivision DInterpretation—how this Act applies to certain children

60EA  Definition of de facto partner

                   For the purposes of this Subdivision, a person is the de facto partner of another person if:

                     (a)  a relationship between the person and the other person (whether of the same sex or a different sex) is registered under a law of a State or Territory prescribed for the purposes of section 2E of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 as a kind of relationship prescribed for the purposes of that section; or

                     (b)  the person is in a de facto relationship with the other person.

60F  Certain children are children of marriage etc.

             (1)  For the purposes of this Act, a child is (subject to subsections (2), (3) and (4)) a child of a marriage if:

                     (a)  the child is the child of both parties to the marriage, whether born before or after the marriage; or

                     (b)  the child is adopted after the marriage by both parties to the marriage, or by either of them with the consent of the other.

             (2)  A reference in this Act to a child of a marriage includes a reference to a child of:

                     (a)  a marriage that has been terminated by divorce or annulled (in Australia or elsewhere); or

                     (b)  a marriage that has been terminated by the death of one party to the marriage.

             (3)  A child of a marriage who is adopted by a person who, before the adoption, is not a prescribed adopting parent ceases to be a child of that marriage for the purposes of this Act.

             (4)  The following provisions apply in relation to a child of a marriage who is adopted by a prescribed adopting parent:

                     (a)  if a court granted leave under section 60G for the adoption proceedings to be commenced—the child ceases to be a child of the marriage for the purposes of this Act;

                     (b)  in any other case—the child continues to be a child of the marriage for the purposes of this Act.

             (5)  In this section:

this Act includes the applicable Rules of Court.

60G  Leave may be granted for adoption proceedings by prescribed adopting parent

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2), the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory or the Family Court of a State may grant leave for proceedings to be commenced for the adoption of a child by a prescribed adopting parent.

             (2)  In proceedings for leave under subsection (1), the court must consider whether granting leave would be in the child’s best interests, having regard to the effect of paragraph 60F(4)(a), or paragraph 60HA(3)(a), and of sections 61E and 65J.

Note:          Sections 60CB to 60CG deal with how a court determines a child’s best interests.

60H  Children born as a result of artificial conception procedures

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  a child is born to a woman as a result of the carrying out of an artificial conception procedure while the woman was married to, or a de facto partner of, another person (the other intended parent); and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  the woman and the other intended parent consented to the carrying out of the procedure, and any other person who provided genetic material used in the procedure consented to the use of the material in an artificial conception procedure; or

                             (ii)  under a prescribed law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, the child is a child of the woman and of the other intended parent;

then, whether or not the child is biologically a child of the woman and of the other intended parent, for the purposes of this Act:

                     (c)  the child is the child of the woman and of the other intended parent; and

                     (d)  if a person other than the woman and the other intended parent provided genetic material—the child is not the child of that person.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  a child is born to a woman as a result of the carrying out of an artificial conception procedure; and

                     (b)  under a prescribed law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, the child is a child of the woman;

then, whether or not the child is biologically a child of the woman, the child is her child for the purposes of this Act.

             (3)  If:

                     (a)  a child is born to a woman as a result of the carrying out of an artificial conception procedure; and

                     (b)  under a prescribed law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, the child is a child of a man;

then, whether or not the child is biologically a child of the man, the child is his child for the purposes of this Act.

             (5)  For the purposes of subsection (1), a person is to be presumed to have consented to an artificial conception procedure being carried out unless it is proved, on the balance of probabilities, that the person did not consent.

             (6)  In this section:

this Act includes the applicable Rules of Court.

60HA  Children of de facto partners

             (1)  For the purposes of this Act, a child is the child of a person who has, or had, a de facto partner if:

                     (a)  the child is a child of the person and the person’s de facto partner; or

                     (b)  the child is adopted by the person and the person’s de facto partner or by either of them with the consent of the other; or

                     (c)  the child is, under subsection 60H(1) or section 60HB, a child of the person and the person’s de facto partner.

This subsection has effect subject to subsection (2).

             (2)  A child of current or former de facto partners ceases to be a child of those partners for the purposes of this Act if the child is adopted by a person who, before the adoption, is not a prescribed adopting parent.

             (3)  The following provisions apply in relation to a child of current or former de facto partners who is adopted by a prescribed adopting parent:

                     (a)  if a court granted leave under section 60G for the adoption proceedings to be commenced—the child ceases to be a child of those partners for the purposes of this Act;

                     (b)  in any other case—the child continues to be a child of those partners for the purposes of this Act.

             (4)  In this section:

this Act includes the applicable Rules of Court.

60HB  Children born under surrogacy arrangements

             (1)  If a court has made an order under a prescribed law of a State or Territory to the effect that:

                     (a)  a child is the child of one or more persons; or

                     (b)  each of one or more persons is a parent of a child;

then, for the purposes of this Act, the child is the child of each of those persons.

             (2)  In this section:

this Act includes the applicable Rules of Court.

Subdivision EFamily dispute resolution

60I  Attending family dispute resolution before applying for Part VII order

Object of this section

             (1)  The object of this section is to ensure that all persons who have a dispute about matters that may be dealt with by an order under this Part (a Part VII order) make a genuine effort to resolve that dispute by family dispute resolution before the Part VII order is applied for.

Applications for a Part VII order

             (6)  Subsections (7) to (12) apply to all applications for a Part VII order in relation to a child that are made on or after 1 July 2008.

Requirement to attempt to resolve dispute by family dispute resolution before applying for a parenting order

             (7)  Subject to subsection (9), a court exercising jurisdiction under this Act must not hear an application for a Part VII order in relation to a child unless the applicant files in the court a certificate given to the applicant by a family dispute resolution practitioner under subsection (8). The certificate must be filed with the application for the Part VII order.

Certificate by family dispute resolution practitioner

             (8)  A family dispute resolution practitioner may give one of these kinds of certificates to a person:

                     (a)  a certificate to the effect that the person did not attend family dispute resolution with the practitioner and the other party or parties to the proceedings in relation to the issue or issues that the order would deal with, but the person’s failure to do so was due to the refusal, or the failure, of the other party or parties to the proceedings to attend;

                    (aa)  a certificate to the effect that the person did not attend family dispute resolution with the practitioner and the other party or parties to the proceedings in relation to the issue or issues that the order would deal with, because the practitioner considers, having regard to the matters prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph, that it would not be appropriate to conduct the proposed family dispute resolution;

                     (b)  a certificate to the effect that the person attended family dispute resolution with the practitioner and the other party or parties to the proceedings in relation to the issue or issues that the order would deal with, and that all attendees made a genuine effort to resolve the issue or issues;

                     (c)  a certificate to the effect that the person attended family dispute resolution with the practitioner and the other party or parties to the proceedings in relation to the issue or issues that the order would deal with, but that the person, the other party or another of the parties did not make a genuine effort to resolve the issue or issues;

                     (d)  a certificate to the effect that the person began attending family dispute resolution with the practitioner and the other party or parties to the proceedings in relation to the issue or issues that the order would deal with, but that the practitioner considers, having regard to the matters prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph, that it would not be appropriate to continue the family dispute resolution.

Note:          When an applicant files one of these certificates under subsection (7), the court may take the kind of certificate into account in considering whether to make an order referring to parties to family dispute resolution (see section 13C) and in determining whether to award costs against a party (see section 117).

Exception

             (9)  Subsection (7) does not apply to an application for a Part VII order in relation to a child if:

                     (a)  the applicant is applying for the order:

                              (i)  to be made with the consent of all the parties to the proceedings; or

                             (ii)  in response to an application that another party to the proceedings has made for a Part VII order; or

                     (b)  the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that:

                              (i)  there has been abuse of the child by one of the parties to the proceedings; or

                             (ii)  there would be a risk of abuse of the child if there were to be a delay in applying for the order; or

                            (iii)  there has been family violence by one of the parties to the proceedings; or

                            (iv)  there is a risk of family violence by one of the parties to the proceedings; or

                     (c)  all the following conditions are satisfied:

                              (i)  the application is made in relation to a particular issue;

                             (ii)  a Part VII order has been made in relation to that issue within the period of 12 months before the application is made;

                            (iii)  the application is made in relation to a contravention of the order by a person;

                            (iv)  the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person has behaved in a way that shows a serious disregard for his or her obligations under the order; or

                     (d)  the application is made in circumstances of urgency; or

                     (e)  one or more of the parties to the proceedings is unable to participate effectively in family dispute resolution (whether because of an incapacity of some kind, physical remoteness from dispute resolution services or for some other reason); or

                      (f)  other circumstances specified in the regulations are satisfied.

Referral to family dispute resolution when exception applies

           (10)  If:

                     (a)  a person applies for a Part VII order; and

                     (b)  the person does not, before applying for the order, attend family dispute resolution with a family dispute resolution practitioner and the other party or parties to the proceedings in relation to the issue or issues that the order would deal with; and

                     (c)  subsection (7) does not apply to the application because of subsection (9);

the court must consider making an order that the person attend family dispute resolution with a family dispute resolution practitioner and the other party or parties to the proceedings in relation to that issue or those issues.

           (11)  The validity of:

                     (a)  proceedings on an application for a Part VII order; or

                     (b)  any order made in those proceedings;

is not affected by a failure to comply with subsection (7) in relation to those proceedings.

           (12)  In this section:

dispute resolution provisions of the Family Law Rules 2004 means:

                     (a)  Rule 1.05 of those Rules; and

                     (b)  Part 2 of Schedule 1 to those Rules;

to the extent to which they deal with dispute resolution.

60J  Family dispute resolution not attended because of child abuse or family violence

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  subsections 60I(7) to (12) apply to an application for a Part VII order (see subsection 60I(6)); and

                     (b)  subsection 60I(7) does not apply to the application because the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that:

                              (i)  there has been abuse of the child by one of the parties to the proceedings; or

                             (ii)  there has been family violence by one of the parties to the proceedings;

a court must not hear the application unless the applicant has indicated in writing that the applicant has received information from a family counsellor or family dispute resolution practitioner about the services and options (including alternatives to court action) available in circumstances of abuse or violence.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply if the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that:

                     (a)  there would be a risk of abuse of the child if there were to be a delay in applying for the order; or

                     (b)  there is a risk of family violence by one of the parties to the proceedings.

             (3)  The validity of:

                     (a)  proceedings on an application for a Part VII order; or

                     (b)  any order made in those proceedings;

is not affected by a failure to comply with subsection (1) in relation to those proceedings.

             (4)  If:

                     (a)  the applicant indicates in writing that the applicant has not received information about the services and options (including alternatives to court action) available in circumstances of abuse or violence; and

                     (b)  subsection (2) does not apply;

the principal executive officer of the court concerned must ensure that the applicant is referred to a family counsellor or family dispute resolution practitioner in order to obtain information about those matters.

Division 2Parental responsibility

61A  What this Division does

                   This Division deals with the concept of parental responsibility including, in particular:

                     (a)  what parental responsibility is; and

                     (b)  who has parental responsibility.

61B  Meaning of parental responsibility

                   In this Part, parental responsibility, in relation to a child, means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children.

61C  Each parent has parental responsibility (subject to court orders)

             (1)  Each of the parents of a child who is not 18 has parental responsibility for the child.

Note 1:       This section states the legal position that prevails in relation to parental responsibility to the extent to which it is not displaced by a parenting order made by the court. See subsection (3) of this section and subsection 61D(2) for the effect of a parenting order.

Note 2:       This section does not establish a presumption to be applied by the court when making a parenting order. See section 61DA for the presumption that the court does apply when making a parenting order.

Note 3:       Under section 63C, the parents of a child may make a parenting plan that deals with the allocation of parental responsibility for the child.

             (2)  Subsection (1) has effect despite any changes in the nature of the relationships of the child’s parents. It is not affected, for example, by the parents becoming separated or by either or both of them marrying or re‑marrying.

             (3)  Subsection (1) has effect subject to any order of a court for the time being in force (whether or not made under this Act and whether made before or after the commencement of this section).

Note:          Section 111CS may affect the attribution of parental responsibility for a child.

61D  Parenting orders and parental responsibility

             (1)  A parenting order confers parental responsibility for a child on a person, but only to the extent to which the order confers on the person duties, powers, responsibilities or authority in relation to the child.

             (2)  A parenting order in relation to a child does not take away or diminish any aspect of the parental responsibility of any person for the child except to the extent (if any):

                     (a)  expressly provided for in the order; or

                     (b)  necessary to give effect to the order.

61DA  Presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting orders

             (1)  When making a parenting order in relation to a child, the court must apply a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.

Note:          The presumption provided for in this subsection is a presumption that relates solely to the allocation of parental responsibility for a child as defined in section 61B. It does not provide for a presumption about the amount of time the child spends with each of the parents (this issue is dealt with in section 65DAA).

             (2)  The presumption does not apply if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of the child (or a person who lives with a parent of the child) has engaged in:

                     (a)  abuse of the child or another child who, at the time, was a member of the parent’s family (or that other person’s family); or

                     (b)  family violence.

             (3)  When the court is making an interim order, the presumption applies unless the court considers that it would not be appropriate in the circumstances for the presumption to be applied when making that order.

             (4)  The presumption may be rebutted by evidence that satisfies the court that it would not be in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.

61DB  Application of presumption of equal shared parental responsibility after interim parenting order made

                   If there is an interim parenting order in relation to a child, the court must, in making a final parenting order in relation to the child, disregard the allocation of parental responsibility made in the interim order.

61E  Effect of adoption on parental responsibility

             (1)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  a child is adopted; and

                     (b)  immediately before the adoption, a person had parental responsibility for the child, whether in full or to a limited extent and whether because of section 61C or because of a parenting order.

             (2)  The person’s parental responsibility for the child ends on the adoption of the child, unless the adoption is by a prescribed adopting parent and leave was not granted under section 60G for the adoption proceedings to be commenced.

61F  Application to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children

                   In:

                     (a)  applying this Part to the circumstances of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child; or

                     (b)  identifying a person or persons who have exercised, or who may exercise, parental responsibility for such a child;

the court must have regard to any kinship obligations, and child‑rearing practices, of the child’s Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture.

Division 3Reports relating to children under 18

62A  What this Division does

                   This Division deals with the preparation of reports for use in proceedings relating to children who are under 18.

62B  Court’s obligation to inform people to whom Part VII orders apply about family counselling, family dispute resolution and other family services

                   If a court makes an order in proceedings under this Part, the court must inform the parties to the proceedings about the family counselling services, family dispute resolution services and other courses, programs and services available to help the parties adjust to the consequences of that order.

Note:          Before informing the parties, the court must consider seeking the advice of a family consultant about the services appropriate to the parties’ needs (see section 11E).

62G  Reports by family consultants

             (1)  This section applies if, in proceedings under this Act, the care, welfare and development of a child who is under 18 is relevant.

             (2)  The court may direct a family consultant to give the court a report on such matters relevant to the proceedings as the court thinks desirable.

             (3)  If the court makes a direction under subsection (2), it may, if it thinks it necessary, adjourn the proceedings until the report has been given to the court.

          (3A)  A family consultant who is directed to give the court a report on a matter under subsection (2) must:

                     (a)  ascertain the views of the child in relation to that matter; and

                     (b)  include the views of the child on that matter in the report.

Note:          A person cannot require a child to express his or her views in relation to any matter (see section 60CE).

          (3B)  Subsection (3A) does not apply if complying with that subsection would be inappropriate because of:

                     (a)  the child’s age or maturity; or

                     (b)  some other special circumstance.

             (4)  The family consultant may include in the report, in addition to the matters required to be included in it, any other matters that relate to the care, welfare or development of the child.

             (5)  For the purposes of the preparation of the report, the court may make any other orders, or give any other directions, that the court considers appropriate (including orders or directions that one or more parties to the proceedings attend, or arrange for the child to attend, an appointment or a series of appointments with a family consultant).

Note:          Before making orders under this section, the court must consider seeking the advice of a family consultant about the services appropriate to the parties’ needs (see section 11E).

             (6)  If:

                     (a)  a person fails to comply with an order or direction under subsection (5); or

                     (b)  a child fails to attend an appointment with a family consultant as arranged in compliance with an order or direction under subsection (5);

the family consultant must report the failure to the court.

             (7)  On receiving a report under subsection (6), the court may give such further directions in relation to the preparation of the report as it considers appropriate.

             (8)  A report given to the court pursuant to a direction under subsection (2) may be received in evidence in any proceedings under this Act.

Division 4Parenting plans

63A  What this Division does

                   This Division explains what parenting plans are.

63B  Parents encouraged to reach agreement

                   The parents of a child are encouraged:

                     (a)  to agree about matters concerning the child; and

                     (b)  to take responsibility for their parenting arrangements and for resolving parental conflict; and

                     (c)  to use the legal system as a last resort rather than a first resort; and

                     (d)  to minimise the possibility of present and future conflict by using or reaching an agreement; and

                     (e)  in reaching their agreement, to regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.

Note:          Parents are encouraged to reach an informal agreement between themselves about matters concerning their children by entering into a parenting plan. Parents who seek enforceable arrangements require court orders. These can be obtained by consent.

63C  Meaning of parenting plan and related terms

             (1)  A parenting plan is an agreement that:

                     (a)  is in writing; and

                     (b)  is or was made between the parents of a child; and

                   (ba)  is signed by the parents of the child; and

                   (bb)  is dated; and

                     (c)  deals with a matter or matters mentioned in subsection (2).

          (1A)  An agreement is not a parenting plan for the purposes of this Act unless it is made free from any threat, duress or coercion.

             (2)  A parenting plan may deal with one or more of the following:

                     (a)  the person or persons with whom a child is to live;

                     (b)  the time a child is to spend with another person or other persons;

                     (c)  the allocation of parental responsibility for a child;

                     (d)  if 2 or more persons are to share parental responsibility for a child—the form of consultations those persons are to have with one another about decisions to be made in the exercise of that responsibility;

                     (e)  the communication a child is to have with another person or other persons;

                      (f)  maintenance of a child;

                     (g)  the process to be used for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the plan;

                     (h)  the process to be used for changing the plan to take account of the changing needs or circumstances of the child or the parties to the plan;

                      (i)  any aspect of the care, welfare or development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child.

Note:          Paragraph (f)—if the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 applies, provisions in a parenting plan dealing with the maintenance of a child (as distinct from child support under that Act) are unenforceable and of no effect unless the provisions in the plan are a child support agreement (see section 63CAA and subsection 63G(5) of this Act).

          (2A)  The person referred to in subsection (2) may be, or the persons referred to in that subsection may include, either a parent of the child or a person other than the parent of the child (including a grandparent or other relative of the child).

          (2B)  Without limiting paragraph (2)(c), the plan may deal with the allocation of responsibility for making decisions about major long‑term issues in relation to the child.

          (2C)  The communication referred to in paragraph (2)(e) includes (but is not limited to) communication by:

                     (a)  letter; and

                     (b)  telephone, email or any other electronic means.

             (3)  An agreement may be a parenting plan:

                     (a)  whether made before or after the commencement of this section; and

                     (b)  whether made inside or outside Australia; and

                     (c)  whether other persons as well as a child’s parents are also parties; and

                     (d)  whether it deals with other matters as well as matters mentioned in subsection (2).

Note:          One of the other matters with which a parenting plan may deal is child support (see section 63CAA).

             (4)  Provisions of a parenting plan that deal with matters other than the maintenance of a child are child welfare provisions.

             (5)  Provisions of a parenting plan that deal with the matter mentioned in paragraph (2)(f) are child maintenance provisions.

             (6)  A registered parenting plan is a parenting plan:

                     (a)  that was registered in a court under section 63E as in force at any time before the commencement of the Family Law Amendment Act 2003; and

                     (b)  that continued to be registered immediately before the commencement of the Family Law Amendment Act 2003.

63CAA  Parenting plans may include child support provisions

             (1)  If a parenting plan includes provisions of a kind referred to in subsection 84(1) of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989, the provisions do not have effect for the purposes of this Act.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not affect the operation of the provisions for any other purpose.

             (3)  Nothing in this Division is to be taken to prevent the same agreement being both a parenting plan under this Part and a child support agreement under Part 6 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.

63D  Parenting plan may be varied or revoked by further written agreement

                   A parenting plan, other than a plan to which section 63DB applies, may be varied or revoked by agreement in writing between the parties to the plan.

63DA  Obligations of advisers

          (1A)  The obligations of an adviser under this section are in addition to the adviser’s obligations under section 60D.

Note:          Section 60D deals with an adviser’s obligations in relation to the best interests of the child.

             (1)  If an adviser gives advice or assistance to people in relation to parental responsibility for a child following the breakdown of the relationship between those people, the adviser must:

                     (a)  inform them that they could consider entering into a parenting plan in relation to the child; and

                     (b)  inform them about where they can get further assistance to develop a parenting plan and the content of the plan.

             (2)  If an adviser gives advice to people in connection with the making by those people of a parenting plan in relation to a child, the adviser must:

                     (a)  inform them that, if the child spending equal time with each of them is:

                              (i)  reasonably practicable; and

                             (ii)  in the best interests of the child;

                            they could consider the option of an arrangement of that kind; and

                     (b)  inform them that, if the child spending equal time with each of them is not reasonably practicable or is not in the best interests of the child but the child spending substantial and significant time with each of them is:

                              (i)  reasonably practicable; and

                             (ii)  in the best interests of the child;

                            they could consider the option of an arrangement of that kind; and

                     (d)  inform them of the matters that may be dealt with in a parenting plan in accordance with subsection 63C(2); and

                     (e)  inform them that, if there is a parenting order in force in relation to the child, the order may (because of section 64D) include a provision that the order is subject to a parenting plan they enter into; and

                      (f)  inform them about the desirability of including in the plan:

                              (i)  if they are to share parental responsibility for the child under the plan—provisions of the kind referred to in paragraph 63C(2)(d) (which deals with the form of consultations between the parties to the plan) as a way of avoiding future conflicts over, or misunderstandings about, the matters covered by that paragraph; and

                             (ii)  provisions of the kind referred to in paragraph 63C(2)(g) (which deals with the process for resolving disputes between the parties to the plan); and

                            (iii)  provisions of the kind referred to in paragraph 63C(2)(h) (which deals with the process for changing the plan to take account of the changing needs or circumstances of the child or the parties to the plan); and

                     (g)  explain to them, in language they are likely to readily understand, the availability of programs to help people who experience difficulties in complying with a parenting plan; and

                     (h)  inform them that section 65DAB requires the court to have regard to the terms of the most recent parenting plan in relation to the child when making a parenting order in relation to the child if it is in the best interests of the child to do so.

Note:          Paragraphs (a) and (b) only require the adviser to inform the people that they could consider the option of the child spending equal time, or substantial and significant time, with each of them. The adviser may, but is not obliged to, advise them as to whether that option would be appropriate in their particular circumstances.

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph (2)(b), a child will be taken to spend substantial and significant time with a parent only if:

                     (a)  the time the child spends with the parent includes both:

                              (i)  days that fall on weekends and holidays; and

                             (ii)  days that do not fall on weekends or holidays; and

                     (b)  the time the child spends with the parent allows the parent to be involved in:

                              (i)  the child’s daily routine; and

                             (ii)  occasions and events that are of particular significance to the child; and

                     (c)  the time the child spends with the parent allows the child to be involved in occasions and events that are of special significance to the parent.

             (4)  Subsection (3) does not limit the other matters to which regard may be had in determining whether the time a child spends with a parent would be substantial and significant.

             (5)  In this section:

adviser means a person who is:

                     (a)  a legal practitioner; or

                     (b)  a family counsellor; or

                     (c)  a family dispute resolution practitioner; or

                     (d)  a family consultant.

63DB  Registered parenting plans

Application of section

             (1)  This section applies to a registered parenting plan.

Saving of registered parenting plan

             (2)  A registered parenting plan continues in force until revoked in accordance with section 63E, or set aside, varied or discharged as referred to in section 63H.

No variation of registered parenting plan

             (3)  A registered parenting plan cannot be varied.

Revocation of registered parenting plan

             (4)  Subject to subsection (5), a registered parenting plan may be revoked by agreement in writing between the parties to the plan.

Registration of revocation required

             (5)  An agreement revoking a registered parenting plan:

                     (a)  may, subject to the applicable Rules of Court, be registered, in a court having jurisdiction under this Part, under section 63E; and

                     (b)  does not have effect to revoke the plan until it is so registered.

63E  Registration of a revocation of a registered parenting plan

             (1)  This section applies to a registered parenting plan.

             (2)  To apply for registration of an agreement (revocation agreement) revoking a registered parenting plan:

                     (a)  an application for registration of the revocation agreement must be lodged in accordance with the applicable Rules of Court; and

                     (b)  the application must be accompanied by:

                              (i)  a copy of the revocation agreement; and

                             (ii)  the information required by the applicable Rules of Court; and

                            (iii)  a statement, in relation to each party, that is to the effect that the party has been provided with independent legal advice as to the meaning and effect of the revocation agreement and that is signed by the practitioner who provided that advice.

             (3)  The court may register the revocation agreement if it considers it appropriate to do so having regard to the best interests of the child to whom the agreement relates. In determining whether it is appropriate to register the revocation agreement, the court:

                     (a)  must have regard to the information accompanying the application for registration; and

                     (b)  may, but is not required to, have regard to all or any of the matters set out in subsections 60CC(2) and (3).

63F  Child welfare provisions of registered parenting plans

Application of section

             (1)  This section applies to a registered parenting plan that contains child welfare provisions.

             (2)  The court may, by order, vary the child welfare provisions in the plan if it considers the variation is required in the best interests of a child.

             (3)  The child welfare provisions have effect, subject to subsections (5) and (6), as if they were provisions of a parenting order.

Note:          Provisions of this Act relevant to the child welfare provisions having effect as provided in this subsection include:

(a)    Subdivisions C, D and E of Division 6 of this Part (dealing with obligations created by parenting orders (other than child maintenance orders)); and

(b)    Division 13A of this Part and Part XIII (dealing generally with enforcement of orders and sanctions for contravening orders); and

(c)    subsection 65D(2) (providing for discharge, variation, suspension and revival of parenting orders other than child maintenance orders); and

(d)    other provisions of this Act (including subsection 64B(6)) that refer to parenting orders.

             (4)  If provisions of the plan have effect under subsection (3) as a court order, a person who is a party to the plan is taken (for example, for the purposes of section 65Y) to be a party to the proceedings in which the order was made.

             (5)  Subsection (3) does not apply to the plan (whenever registered) to the extent (if at all) that the plan purports to determine that the child concerned is to live with a person who is not a parent of the child.

             (6)  Even though the plan is registered, the court, or another court having jurisdiction under this Part, must not enforce the child welfare provisions if it considers that to do so would be contrary to the best interests of a child.

Note:          Sections 60CB to 60CG deal with how a court determines a child’s best interests.

63G  Child maintenance provisions of registered parenting plans—where not enforceable as maintenance agreements

             (1)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  a registered parenting plan contains child maintenance provisions; and

                     (b)  the plan is not a maintenance agreement or, if it is a maintenance agreement, the child concerned is not a child of the relevant marriage.

             (2)  The child maintenance provisions have effect, subject to subsections (3), (4) and (5), as if they were a child maintenance order made by the court.

Note:          Provisions of this Act relevant to the child maintenance provisions having effect as a child maintenance order include:

(a)    Parts XIII and XIIIA (dealing generally with enforcement of orders and sanctions for contravening orders); and

(b)    section 66S (providing for discharge, variation, suspension and revival of child maintenance orders); and

(c)    other provisions of this Act that refer to parenting orders, or to child maintenance orders.

             (3)  Unless the plan provides otherwise, the child maintenance provisions (other than provisions for the periodic payment of maintenance) continue to operate in spite of the death of a party to the plan and operate in favour of, and are binding on, the legal personal representative of that party.

             (4)  If the child maintenance provisions include provisions (the periodic provisions) for the periodic payment of maintenance:

                     (a)  the periodic provisions continue to operate, if the plan so provides, in spite of the death of a party to the plan who is liable to make the periodic payments, and are binding on the legal personal representative of that party; but

                     (b)  the periodic provisions do not continue to operate, in spite of anything in the plan, after the death of the person entitled to receive the periodic payments.

             (5)  The child maintenance provisions have no effect, and are not enforceable in any way, at any time when an application could properly be made under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 by one of the parties to the plan for administrative assessment of child support (within the meaning of that Act) for the child concerned.

Note:          This subsection does not affect the operation of provisions of a parenting plan referred to in section 63CAA (child support matters).

             (6)  Subsection (5) has effect whether or not an application for administrative assessment of child support for the child has in fact been made by a party to the plan.

63H  Court’s powers to set aside, discharge, vary, suspend or revive registered parenting plans

          (1A)  This section applies to a registered parenting plan.

             (1)  The court in which the plan was registered may set aside the plan, and its registration, if the court is satisfied:

                     (a)  that the concurrence of a party was obtained by fraud, duress or undue influence; or

                     (b)  that the parties want the plan set aside; or

                     (c)  that it is in the best interests of a child to set aside the plan.

             (2)  In proceedings under subsection (1), to the extent that they are proceedings on the ground mentioned in paragraph (1)(c), the best interests of the child concerned are the paramount consideration.

Note:          Sections 60CB to 60CG deal with how a court determines a child’s best interests.

             (3)  Other provisions of this Act under which provisions of the parenting plan may be set aside or otherwise affected are:

                     (a)  subsection 63F(2)—under that subsection a court may vary child welfare provisions in the plan; and

                     (b)  subsection 65D(2)—under that subsection a court may make a parenting order that discharges, varies, suspends or revives provisions of the plan that have effect as if they were a parenting order (other than a child maintenance order); and

                     (c)  section 66S—under that section a court may discharge, vary, suspend or revive provisions of the plan that have effect as if they were a child maintenance order.

             (4)  Except as permitted by subsection (1) or by a provision mentioned in subsection (3), a court must not set aside, discharge, vary, suspend or revive the whole or a part of the parenting plan.

Division 5Parenting orders—what they are

64A  What this Division does

                   This Division explains what parenting orders are.

64B  Meaning of parenting order and related terms

             (1)  A parenting order is:

                     (a)  an order under this Part (including an order until further order) dealing with a matter mentioned in subsection (2); or

                     (b)  an order under this Part discharging, varying, suspending or reviving an order, or part of an order, described in paragraph (a).

However, a declaration or order under Subdivision E of Division 12 is not a parenting order.

             (2)  A parenting order may deal with one or more of the following:

                     (a)  the person or persons with whom a child is to live;

                     (b)  the time a child is to spend with another person or other persons;

                     (c)  the allocation of parental responsibility for a child;

                     (d)  if 2 or more persons are to share parental responsibility for a child—the form of consultations those persons are to have with one another about decisions to be made in the exercise of that responsibility;

                     (e)  the communication a child is to have with another person or other persons;

                      (f)  maintenance of a child;

                     (g)  the steps to be taken before an application is made to a court for a variation of the order to take account of the changing needs or circumstances of:

                              (i)  a child to whom the order relates; or

                             (ii)  the parties to the proceedings in which the order is made;

                     (h)  the process to be used for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the order;

                      (i)  any aspect of the care, welfare or development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child.

The person referred to in this subsection may be, or the persons referred to in this subsection may include, either a parent of the child or a person other than the parent of the child (including a grandparent or other relative of the child).

Note:          Paragraph (f)—a parenting order cannot deal with the maintenance of a child if the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 applies.

             (3)  Without limiting paragraph (2)(c), the order may deal with the allocation of responsibility for making decisions about major long‑term issues in relation to the child.

             (4)  The communication referred to in paragraph (2)(e) includes (but is not limited to) communication by:

                     (a)  letter; and

                     (b)  telephone, email or any other electronic means.

          (4A)  Without limiting paragraphs (2)(g) and (h), the parenting order may provide that the parties to the proceedings must consult with a family dispute resolution practitioner to assist with:

                     (a)  resolving any dispute about the terms or operation of the order; or

                     (b)  reaching agreement about changes to be made to the order.

             (5)  To the extent (if at all) that a parenting order deals with the matter mentioned in paragraph (2)(f), the order is a child maintenance order.

             (6)  For the purposes of this Act:

                     (a)  a parenting order that provides that a child is to live with a person is made in favour of that person; and

                     (b)  a parenting order that provides that a child is to spend time with a person is made in favour of that person; and

                     (c)  a parenting order that provides that a child is to have communication with a person is made in favour of that person; and

                     (d)  a parenting order that:

                              (i)  allocates parental responsibility for a child to a person; or

                             (ii)  provides that a person is to share parental responsibility for a child with another person;

                            is made in favour of that person.

             (9)  In this section:

this Act includes the applicable Rules of Court.

64C  Parenting orders may be made in favour of parents or other persons

                   A parenting order in relation to a child may be made in favour of a parent of the child or some other person.

64D  Parenting orders subject to later parenting plans

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), a parenting order in relation to a child is taken to include a provision that the order is subject to a parenting plan that is:

                     (a)  entered into subsequently by the child’s parents; and

                     (b)  agreed to, in writing, by any other person (other than the child) to whom the parenting order applies.

             (2)  The court may, in exceptional circumstances, include in a parenting order a provision that the parenting order, or a specified provision of the parenting order, may only be varied by a subsequent order of the court (and not by a parenting plan).

             (3)  Without limiting subsection (2), exceptional circumstances for the purposes of that subsection include the following:

                     (a)  circumstances that give rise to a need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence;

                     (b)  the existence of substantial evidence that one of the child’s parents is likely to seek to use coercion or duress to gain the agreement of the other parent to a parenting plan.

Division 6Parenting orders other than child maintenance orders

Subdivision AIntroductory

65A  What this Division does

             (1)  This Division deals with:

                     (a)  applying for and making parenting orders, other than child maintenance orders (Subdivision B); and

                     (b)  the general obligations created by parenting orders, other than child maintenance orders (Subdivision C); and

                     (c)  dealing with people who have been arrested (Subdivision D); and

                     (d)  the obligations under parenting orders, other than child maintenance orders, relating to taking or sending children from Australia (Subdivision E).

Note:          Paragraph (a)—section 60I provides that people with disputes about matters that may be dealt with in a Part VII order (which includes a parenting order) should generally make use of family dispute resolution before applying for the order.

             (2)  Measures designed to improve communication between separated parents and to educate parents about their respective responsibilities in relation to their children are contained in this Division (see section 65DA).

Note:          Division 13A provides for the compliance regime for dealing with contraventions, and alleged contraventions, of parenting orders.

65AA  Child’s best interests paramount consideration in making a parenting order

                   Section 60CA provides that in deciding whether to make a particular parenting order in relation to a child, a court must regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.

65B  Division does not apply to child maintenance orders

                   This Division does not apply to parenting orders to the extent that they consist of child maintenance orders. Child maintenance orders are dealt with in Division 7.

Subdivision BApplying for and making parenting orders

65C  Who may apply for a parenting order

                   A parenting order in relation to a child may be applied for by:

                     (a)  either or both of the child’s parents; or

                     (b)  the child; or

                   (ba)  a grandparent of the child; or

                     (c)  any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child.

65D  Court’s power to make parenting order

             (1)  In proceedings for a parenting order, the court may, subject to sections 61DA (presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting orders) and 65DAB (parenting plans) and this Division, make such parenting order as it thinks proper.

Note:          Division 4 of Part XIIIAA (International protection of children) may affect the jurisdiction of a court to make a parenting order.

             (2)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1) and subject to section 61DA (presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting orders) and 65DAB (parenting plans) and this Division, a court may make a parenting order that discharges, varies, suspends or revives some or all of an earlier parenting order.

             (3)  If the application for the parenting order was made as a result of the adjournment under paragraph 70NEB(1)(c) of proceedings under Subdivision E of Division 13A of Part VII:

                     (a)  the court must hear and determine the application as soon as practicable; and

                     (b)  if the court makes a parenting order on the application, the court may, if it thinks it is appropriate to do so, dismiss the proceedings under that Subdivision.

Note 1:       The applicant may apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) for the application for the parenting order or for the proceedings under Subdivision E of Division 13A of Part VII, or both, to be transferred to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2): see section 52 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021.

Note 2:       The applicant may apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) for the application for the parenting order or for the proceedin