Marsh Maher Richmond Bennison Lawyers


Proposed Merger of the Family Courts – Good for Families?


Proposed Merger of the Family Courts – Good for Families?

Anyone who has had any experience with the family law system can tell you of the extensive delays which place a further burden on the parties involved, both emotionally and with increased costs. These delays also had a huge impact on children in parenting disputes.

Currently, there are two Courts that have jurisdiction to deal with family law matters, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court.  On average parties can be expect to wait between 15 to 17 months for a trial (in the Family Court), with slightly quicker time frames with the Federal Circuit Court.

Attorney-General Christian Porter has announced that these Courts are to be combined in an attempt to streamline the family law system.  The Government says the merging of the two Courts will remove the red tape that drags out complex trials and cut the backlog of unresolved cases.   It is also supposed to free up more judges to hear disputes.  The changes are slated to start in 2019.

Whether the merger will have any significant impact on the backlog of cases in the Family Law Courts, or in shortening the waiting time for trials, remains to be seen.

While MMRB actively tries to get matters through to finalisation as quickly as possible, and at a lower end cost, sometimes Court delays are outside our control.

We think that any reforms which result in a quicker turnaround of family disputes, especially where children are involved, will be a good thing.

If you require any assistance with your family law matter please contact our Family Law Partner, Shannon Hilton, on 9604 9410 or

Disclaimer: This article is general commentary on a topical issue and does not constitute legal advice. If you are concerned about any topics covered in this article, we recommend that you seek legal advice.