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The Family Court. Chapter 6 Adjudication Bodies. Federal Court Level – established in 1976 under the Family Law Act 1975 ( Cth )

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the family court

The Family Court

Chapter 6 Adjudication Bodies


Federal Court Level – established in 1976 under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Function: - to deal with family disputes between married couples seeking a dissolution of marriage and other orders relating to children of the marriage or property settlement

Structure: Chief justice, judges of the appeal division judges, judge administrators, judicial registrars, deputy registrars and court mediators

  • Divorce
  • A decree of nullity of marriage
  • Maintenance arrangements
  • Parenting orders
  • Injunctions
  • Property settlements
referral of powers
Referral of powers
  • Power to hear matters referred from the states parliaments to the commonwealth.

E.g. parental responsibility relating to the residence of, contact with and maintenance of ex nuptial children.

Why? Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) only relates to children of a marriage.


Another example of referral of power...

Property and other financial matters arising through the breakdown of domestic partnerships.

This enables the court to deal with domestic relationships in the same way as married couples.

dissolution of marriage
Dissolution of Marriage
  • DIVORCE – no need to prove fault
  • It is called dissolution of marriage – to prove this parties must show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
  • The irretrievable break down of marriage can be shown by a the husband and wife living separate and apart for 12 month. (this includes living under the same roof)
  • Decree of dissolution becomes absolute (final) after one month (no appeal after one month)
  • Simplified process can be made by parties without a solicitor.
  • Application forms can be prepared by the parties themselves (downloaded off the internet)
  • The Family Magistrates Court is able to deal with straightforward matters to reduce workload of Family Court.
  • Less formal then Supreme Court or Federal Court
  • Court can order parties to seek advice from family consultants to help parties with their family breakdown.
  • The kinds of things that are often resolved by mediation: where the children should live, times, visits by parents.
  • Information sessions – help parties make decisions about children and financial matters.

Full court of the Family Court hears appeals

Appeals can be heard from:

  • A single judge of the family court
  • A state family court
  • Supreme Court of state or territory (exercising jurisdiction under the Family Court Act)
  • The Federal Magistrate Services
  • A court of summary jurisdiction e.g. Magistrates Court
appeals from the full court
Appeals from the Full Court
  • High Court can hear appeals from the full court if special leave is obtained or certificate of the full Court is obtained – for question of law or public interest is invovled.