From 1 March 2018, significant amendments to the Family Law Rules came into affect.
Note these rules only apply to the Family Court and not the Federal Circuit Court.
The five major changes are as follows:
- Exhibits and annexures are no longer allowed to be attached to Affidavits. Documents that you seek to rely upon must be referred to in the body of your client’s Affidavit and tendered with hard copies of the document to be served on the other party along with the Affidavit when it is filed.
- There are two new Notice of Risk forms you will be required to use. One is used where court proceedings are on foot whilst the other is to be used with Applications for Consent Orders. The previous Annexure to Proposed Consent Parenting order is no longer in use.
- It is no longer necessary to file a superannuation information request form with an Application for Consent Orders as long you file an alternate document with the Affidavit of procedural fairness, for example a current superannuation statement, which allows the court to determine the value of the superannuation interest.
- A new Submitting Notice can now be used by you in circumstances where your client is served with an Initiating application, response, Reply or notice of appeal and your client does not wish to contest the making of the orders sought. The party filing the notice simply needs to provide an address for service and confirm in the notice that they will submit to any order the court may make. The notice must indicate whether the party wants to be heard as to costs.
- A new notice of contention in appeals can be used by you when your client, the respondent in an appeal does not seek to cross-appeal, but instead seeks to have the order affirmed on grounds other than those relied on by the first-instance Court.
Other recent changes include:
- Affidavits must not be greater than 10 pages or contain more than 5 annexures. If an affidavit longer than this is filed the Judge may either give leave to a party to rely on it or otherwise not read it and require the non-complying party to select 10 pages from the Affidavit and only those 10 pages will be read by the Judge. The Judge has liberty to make costs orders against non-complying parties;
- If a respondent seeks different orders to the applicant, the applicant may file an additional affidavit in answer. That affidavit must comply with the direction to be limited to 10 pages and 5 annexures.
- Affidavits filed 48 hours prior to a court hearing may only be relied upon if the Judge gives leave to that party
- Increasing Deputy Registrar’s delegated powers to include the ability to make location orders, dismiss cases in certain circumstances and appoint a case guardian;
- A copy of subpoena documents can now be produced in answer to a subpoena and those documents can be produced in any electronic form;
- If a copy of a current family/domestic violence order is not available, you no longer have to file an undertaking to file it;
- You no longer have to file multiple copies of consent orders if the orders are being filed electronically;
- ‘Safety Concerns’ is now a factor for consideration in transfer of venue applications;
- A new rule governing undertakings to court is that oral undertakings must subsequently be reduced to writing and filed. Any undertakings filed with the court to pay damages, is submitting to any order the court might consider just in the circumstances;
- Cost Assessment Orders will have the force and effect of a court order.
We highly recommend that you review the new Family Law Rules and update your precedents to ensure you are in compliance.
if you are in need of any assistance with respect to agency matters, please do not hesitate to give us a call. Check out our fixed fees for agency appearances on our Agency page.