Exposure Draft: Family Law Amendment Bill (No. 2)
The Law Council recently made a submission to the Attorney-General’s Department in response to its exposure draft of the Family Law Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2023 and accompanying Consultation Paper. This submission was heavily informed by the Law Council’s Family Law Section, in addition to many Constituent Bodies.
In its submission, the Law Council considers that many of the areas for reform identified in the Exposure Draft have the potential to realise significant improvements for those who will interact with the family law system. However, while the Exposure Draft seeks to advance several recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission, it also proposes several substantial departures that the Law Council respectfully submits should be reconsidered.
While the Law Council is supportive of some aspects of the Exposure Draft, it has received expressions of concern from its Family Law Section and Constituent Bodies that several aspects of the proposed reforms will not achieve their policy intention as currently drafted, and may give rise to adverse unintended consequences. These concerns primarily relate to:
- amendments to the property decision-making framework, including the new contributions factors of the effect of family violence, financial and economic abuse, debt and wastage (Schedule 1, Part 1);
- the proposed approach to establish less adversarial trial processes for property or other non-child-related proceedings (Schedule 1, Part 2);
- amendments to section 60I relating to attending family dispute resolution before applying for a Part VII order (Schedule 3, Part 1); and
- amendments to the inadmissibility provisions in the Act (Schedule 4, Part 2).
Nonetheless, the Law Council notes in its submission that many of the concerns raised are not insurmountable, and could be addressed either by revised drafting or through an alternative policy approach.
You can read the full submission below.