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 Family Law Council published reports

Reports on Families with Complex Needs and the Intersection of the Family Law and Child Protection Systems

The Interim Report to the Attorney-General focused on the first two terms of reference that address the prospect of having a streamlined, coherent and integrated approach to improve the overall safety of families and in particular children, while involved in the family law, child protection and family violence jurisdictions. The Interim Report was delivered to the Attorney-General on 30 June 2015.

The Final Report to the Attorney-General, delivered on 30 June 2016, focused on terms three, four and five of the reference. The report concentrates on opportunities to enhance collaboration and information sharing within the family law system as well as other support services such as child protection, mental health, family violence, drug and alcohol, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and migrant services.

Parentage and the Family Law Act 1975 (December 2013)

This report provides advice to the Attorney-General on a range of issues in relation to who is considered to be a parent under the Family Law Act 1975. The council considered the changes in family structures and the differing ways families are now being formed, the role and meaning of 'parent', as well as the inconsistent, inappropriate and discriminatory outcomes for children on the basis of the status of the people who are raising them or the way in which the child's family was formed.

Submissions received for the Final Report have been published on our submissions page, except where requests have been made to keep them confidential, where they relate to particular cases or personal information or have not been provided in a format that meets the department’s accessibility guidelines.

Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse clients in the family law system (February 2012)

In response to terms of reference issued by the former Attorney-General, the council considered ways in which the family law system can better meet the needs of Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse clients.

As part of the consultation process, the council sought submissions from interested organisations and individuals about services and engagement programs for families of Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Family Violence (December 2009)

This is a report on the impact of family violence on children and on parenting, acknowledging the compounding issues of mental health problems and alcohol and substance abuse, as well as indigenous and cultural considerations.

Improving Post-Parenting Order Processes (October 2007)

This report deals with the issue of how family law processes can better address the need to vary parenting orders as family circumstances change and the need to distinguish variation issues from situations of serious non-compliance with court orders.

Collaborative Practice in Family Law (February 2007)

Collaborative practice is a unique method of dispute resolution, which has the potential to deliver ongoing benefits to the general public and Australian professionals working in the family law area.

Relocation Report (May 2006)

This report brings together the findings of a public consultation and a discussion paper which examined the legal and practical issues that arise when parents have separated and the parent with whom a child lives wishes to move, with the child, from their current home to another place.

Statistical Snapshot 2003–2005

This is the third edition of the Family Law Council's stand-alone statistical report on various aspects of the Australian family law system.

Report on the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child-rearing practices in family law (January 2005)

The council provided a report to the former Attorney-General on the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child-rearing practices in family law including recommendations to assist courts to take into account the kinship obligations and child rearing practices of traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Legal Practitioners Guide (November 2004)

Produced by the Child Support Agency, the Legal Practitioner's Guide was developed in association with the Family Law Council and the Family Law section of the Law Council of Australia.

Pathways for Children (August 2004)

This is a report on the representation of children in family law—prompted by a recommendation of the Family Law Pathways Advisory Group's 2001 report Out of the Maze: Pathways to the Future for Families Experiencing Separation.

Statistical Snapshot 2002–2003

This is the second edition of the Family Law Council's stand-alone statistical report on various aspects of the Australian family law system.

Family Law and Child Protection—Final Report (September 2002)

This report arose from the work of the council on the interaction between the state and federal systems when child protection issues arise.

Statistical Snapshot of Family Law 2000–2001

This is the council's first stand-alone statistical report on various aspects of the Australian family law system.

Cultural-Community Divorce (August 2001)

The council provided a report on Australian Jewish and Islamic communities experiencing divorce difficulties that are superficially similar in consequence, but distinctly different in context, as a result of the differences between their respective cultural-community's divorce rules and those of the Australian family law system.

Discussion Paper—Best interest of the child (October 2000)

The Family Law Council established its Child and Family Services Committee to examine the interaction between Commonwealth and state and territory child and family legislation.

Litigants in person (August 2000)

This report examines the effects of unrepresented litigants on the family law system, including on the opponents of unrepresented litigants. The report makes a number of recommendations, aimed at providing better assistance to litigants who find themselves without representation and at reducing the impact of litigants in person on the family law system generally, and on the courts in particular.

Discussion Paper—Violence and the Family Law Act (August 1998)

In late 1994 the council discussed an examination of the general issue of family violence including the social, legal and historical impact of violence on families and how decisions of the Family Court should take violence in relationships into account.

Child Contact Orders (June 1998)

The council is of the firm view that there is no single, simple solution to the various problems which it has identified. The approach in this report is to take the various types of problems individually and look for ways of overcoming each problem. At the same time, some underlying problems are also addressed and solutions offered.

Interim Report: Penalties and Enforcement (March 1998)

This is an interim report on enforcement of Family Court orders and injunctions and penalties for non-compliance.

Parental Child Abduction (January 1998)

In this report, the council considers issues relating to parental child abduction including criminal offences.

More information is available in the 1997 Discussion Paper—Parental Child Abduction.

Involving and representing children in Family Law (August 1996)

The council, among other things, considered the scope of the court's power to order counselling for a child, and, for example, suggests that a family report should be available to the court before such a decision is made.

Family Law Appeals and Review (June 1996)

This is an examination of legislation, practice and procedure in relation to appeals. It also makes recommendations for any possible improvements to the appeals process which may enhance access to justice for parties who are dissatisfied with decisions made under the Family Law Act.

Sterilisation and Other Medical Procedures (November 1994)

In this report the council recommends, among other things, that there should be a new division in the Family Law Act regulating sterilisation of young people and the legislation should provide penalties for the performance of unauthorised sterilisation procedures.

Female Genital Mutilation (June 1994)

In this report, the council has concluded that for at least one generation, women from countries which practise female genital mutilation will be under considerable pressures to continue this practice.

Comments on the Report of the Joint Select Committee on the Operation and the Interpretation of the Family Law Act (January 1993)

The council provided advice on the Report of the Joint Select Committee on Certain Aspects of the Operation and Interpretation of the Family Law Act titled The Family Law Act 1975—Aspects of its Operation and Interpretation.

Interaction of Bankruptcy (June 1992)

The council provided recommendations in regard to bankruptcy and family law.

Patterns of Parenting (April 1992)

The council concluded that the existing family law system fails to encourage cooperative parenting and that cooperative parenting has been shown to have positive and beneficial effects. The Family Law Council makes recommendations in this regard.