The Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 was introduced into Parliament recently. One of the major proposed changes is the repeal of section 61DA. This section identifies the circumstances in which the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility should apply.
In this video, special counsel Leeann Murphy discusses the proposed reforms and what they could mean for you.
Hello. My name is Leeann Murphy. I’m a member of the family law team at Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers.
The Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 was recently introduced into Parliament. One of the major proposed changes is to repeal section 61DA. Section 61DA provides the circumstances under which the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility applies.Some of the proposed reforms arise as a result of inquiries, which find that the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility in some cases can be erroneously applied and result in unsafe and high conflict parenting arrangements. The reforms seek to simplify the considerations that are relevant to the best interests of the children.
Considerations made by the court
Presently, the court considers numerous objectives, considerations and presumptions in determining what is in the best interests of the children. The proposed changes seek to simplify the process. The court will look at key considerations. The court will look at the safety of the child. The court will look at the ability for each parent to care for the child. The court will look at the benefit to the child of maintaining a relationship with both parents and the court will look at the children’s views. The proposed amendments also include the circumstances under which parenting orders can be revisited.
Rice and Asplund principles
The proposed amendments set out the principles in Rice and Asplund. The principle provides that the court may revisit parenting matters where there has been a significant change in circumstances. The amendments also provide that it will be beneficial for independent children’s lawyers to meet with the children personally in most cases. The bill proposes widening the definition of family, for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. The bill also seeks to clarify the circumstances under which details of the proceedings can be published. It seeks to clarify that private discussions with family and friends will be permitted, where presently is currently prohibited.
As the bill moves through Parliament, we will keep you updated. If you have any questions relating to family law matters, contact us.