The Family Court Of Australia
The Family Court of Australia was established in 1975 to deal with matters involving divorce, issues relating to children's arrangements after separation and divorce, property settlement after marriage, and spousal maintenance (between married couples). The Court also deals with a limited range of matters in relation to child support. The Family Court of Australia is the highest court in Australia dealing with family law issues.
The Federal Magistrates Court
Since July 2000, the Federal Magistrates Court (also known as the Federal Magistrates Service
) has also dealt with family law matters. The Service aims to provide a quicker and cheaper service.
The majority of applications under the Family Law Act may be filed in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates Court. However, the Federal Magistrates Court does not deal with matters about:
- property disputes concerning property worth over $700,000.00, and
- applications concerning nullity or validity of marriage.
If there are no current proceedings in the Family Court, applications that are able to be determined (that is a decision can made by the officer hearing the matter) on the first hearing date (referred to as summary applications) should be filed in the Federal Magistrates Court. This will enable the matter to be heard quickly and to be finalised as soon as possible.
The Federal Magistrates Service shares registries (offices) with the Family Court.
The Family Court of Western Australia
In Western Australia, the Family Court of Western Australia
has authority to deal with family law matters under State and Federal law. If you live in Western Australia, you apply to this Court for help with family law matters.
District & Supreme Courts
If you are separating after a de facto relationship, you apply to the District or Supreme Court in your state for help in resolving property disputes. The District and Supreme Courts in all states deal with property disputes between de facto couples.