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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. A range of information and services are available to assist.

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.

A range of information and services are available to assist people going through family relationship issues. The Family Law Services and Support Fact Sheet has information on where to access family relationship, alternative dispute resolution, legal and family violence services, as well as services that support people’s wellbeing. Some of the services are also available to family members and friends of couples experiencing relationship issues. The Fact Sheet also includes web links to useful websites that have further information about family law.

Information and services that can help families going through family relationship issues are also listed below.

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).
  • information about legal assistance and related services, visit the Legal Assistance page.
  • legal aid assistance, visit the National Legal Aid website.
  • information on superannuation splitting, visit the superannuation splitting laws page.
  • information on property settlement and you are in a de facto relationship, visit our de facto property regime page.
  • information about an online dispute resolution tool to help resolve your family law dispute, visit the amica website.
  • taking your case before a family law court, visit the Federal Circuit Court website, the Family Court of Australia website, or the Family Court of Western Australia website. Specialist family law courts have jurisdiction to hear cases about matters including: 
    • married couples intending to divorce
    • disputes about parenting arrangements for children after separation
    • property settlement or other financial issues following separation.
  • 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

Legislation to structurally reform the federal family law courts passed Parliament on 18 February 2021. The legislation received Royal Assent on 1 March 2021 and will commence by 1 September 2021 unless a date is otherwise fixed by Proclamation. For more information, visit the structural reform of the federal courts page.

amica: a new online tool to assist couples to separate amicably

Launched on 30 June 2020, 'amica' is an online dispute resolution tool developed by National Legal Aid. This ground-breaking digital service empowers separating couples to resolve their family law disputes online. amica enables users to negotiate and communicate online with their former partner at their own pace, in their own time and in their own space.

amica uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to suggest a split of assets, taking into account the couple's particular circumstances; the kinds of agreements reached by other couples in similar circumstances; and how courts generally handle disputes of the same nature. amica can also assist parents to develop a parenting plan for their children.

Find out more on the amica website.