Understanding the Family Law Amendment Bill

Wondering what the passing of the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 means for your parenting case?  We explain the impact of the family law  amendments for your family law matter 

What is the Family Law Amendment Bill?

The Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 is a new law passed by the Australian Government that brings changes to how separated parents handle parenting cases. This post will explain the key changes brought about by this bill and how they might affect your family law case.

The Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 changes three main laws: the Family Law Act 1975, the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989, and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021.

What is the goal of the Family Law Amendment Bill?

The goal of these changes is to reduce waiting times in the court system and make it easier to get support services.

One of the big changes is to the parenting order framework. The bill fine-tunes the list of ‘best interests’ factors that help decide what is best for the child.

Significantly, it removes the idea that parents should automatically share parental responsibility equally. Now, the law allows for more flexibility to decide parenting arrangements based on what’s best for the child.

The bill also makes it clearer when a court can change an existing parenting order. It also improves the sharing of information about family violence, child abuse, and neglect risks in parenting cases before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, and the Family Court of Western Australia.

Another change is that what has been previously called ‘The rule in Rice & Asplund” has now become part of the Family Law Act.  This significant change means that if the Court is asked to change a final parenting order, they must first consider if there has been a significant change in the child’s circumstances since the order was made. 

This means, if you have a final order in place for equal shared parental responsibility, you should not think this change in legislation opens the door to go back to court to change it.  If you think there are grounds to change the order, seek legal advice because there may be costs order consequences if you are not successful.

These changes aim to address the problems of the current family law system, which often sees both parents as equal in parenting disagreements. Now, the focus is more on what’s best for the child​​. Legal communities, like the Women’s Legal Services Australia, have welcomed these changes, seeing them as steps towards a simpler, safer, and more efficient family law system​​.

Understanding these changes is essential as you go through your parenting case. Knowing these changes will help you make more informed decisions. 

At Divorce Hub, we are here to help you through these changes in family law. Our team of experienced family law specialist lawyers is ready to assist you in understanding the implications of the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 on your parenting case.

The purpose of this article is to provide general information. It does not constitute legal advice. Please get in touch to discuss your specific circumstances. ​