2011_brisbane_court_600The Attorney General will be introducing new measures to provide greater protections for Australian affected by family violence to improve the response of the family law system to family violence together with other changes to the Family Law system.

Proposed changes to the Family Law Act (the Act) will enable state and territory courts making an interim family violence protection order to suspend or vary existing parenting orders until either a time specified by the Court, or another Court order is made. Currently, such suspension or variation arrangements expire after 21 days, potentially putting children and family members at renewed risk of further violence.

The proposed amendments also deal with other matters including:

  • allowing state courts to suspend family court parenting orders when that state court is making interim domestic violence orders;
  • giving more certainty to financial agreements entered into privately between parties;
  • giving the court more power to dismiss meritorious applications to prevent abuse of the family law system;
  • introduces new offences relating to the wrongful retention of a child overseas

The Legislation is just being introduced but is likely to pass so we can expect these changes to come into effect in the near future.

If you are contemplating making a financial agreement it may be wise to await the commencement of the new amendments as they will strengthen the likelihood of the binding nature of the agreement in the future should the agreement later become under scrutiny of the Court.