THE peak body representing Australian lawyers has applauded the federal government's three newly released reports examining the operation of the family law system and law courts.
The Law Council’s Family Law Section contributed to the reviews, which were conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies and Professor Richard Chisholm.
The Law Council claims changes to the family law system must be based on providing services that those using the system really need, and delivering those services in the most effective way, said Law Council president Glenn Ferguson.
“Family law practitioners, in their experience, are of the opinion that shared parenting, which involves a high level of communication and willingness to co-operate on the part of both parents, may not be suitable for all families. However, practitioners readily work with families to help them negotiate other arrangements to promote a strong relationship with both parents.”
The Law Council endorses the AIFS’ findings that, when developing parenting arrangements, it is important to identify those families where safety is a concern.
“While the Family Law Act acknowledges the profound effect that family violence has on children and families, the family courts system is not adequately resourced to realistically deal with violence and its effects.”
While the Law Council strongly encourages the use of family dispute resolution services that are available outside the court system, it must be remembered that the family law courts provide a vital resource for those unable to resolve issues arising from the breakdown of family relationships.
“The Law Council will fully consider the findings of the reports over coming weeks and we look forward to further consultation and discussion with the Government regarding their recommendations,” Mr Ferguson concluded.