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Family law system

Australia's family law system helps people resolve the legal aspects of family relationship issues, including family relationship breakdown.

It encourages people to agree on arrangements without going to court.

To help achieve this, the services listed below can help families by giving them information and where relevant, referrals to providers of alternative dispute resolution services.

If you are interested in:

  • participating in a post-separation service, or a referral to another family service:
    • visit the Family Relationships Online website
    • call the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday; 10am to 4pm on Saturdays except public holidays).
    • married couples intending to divorce
    • parents who are unable to agree on arrangements between them on parenting or financial issues
    • one of the exceptions to a family dispute resolution. Specialist family law courts have jurisdiction to make orders on those issues in cases brought before them.
  • assistance in understanding the most common family law terms used during separation, visit the Family Law TermFinder website.

The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court hear cases throughout Australia, except in Western Australia, where the Family Court of Western Australia is the specialist court.

Structural reform of the federal courts

On 30 May 2018, the Attorney-General announced the government’s intention to bring forward legislation for structural changes to the federal courts (excluding the High Court of Australia). For more information, visit the structural reform of the federal courts page.