By Tineka Winter

14 June 2024

The Family Law Act is undergoing significant proposed amendments focusing on financial matters. These changes aim to address the evolving societal norms and economic realities, with a view to ensuring just and equitable financial arrangements are put in place following relationship breakdowns.


This is a 2 part blog series on the proposed amendments to Family Law Act regarding Financial Matters. Part 1 will explore into the general proposed changes and part 2 will delve into the impact for property settlements and financial separation specific in relation to Family Violence.

Following the release by the Australian Law Reform Commission of their report, Family Law for the Future – An Inquiry into the Family Law System (“ALRC Report”) in 2019, the Australian government has been working towards significant legislative change in the family law space. 

On 6 May 2024, amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“Family Law Act”) came into effect. Changing the legislative approach to determining parenting matters.

The proposed legislative amendments contain a second tranche of reforms. These amendments will focus on improving the law for parties with family law property disputes. Read part 2 of proposed amendments to Family Law Act- Financial Matters which address specifically Family Violence as part of property settlement.

This second tranche of amendments come from recommendations of the ALRC Report, including a key recommendation of the ALRC Report that the approach to property settlement following separation between married and de facto couples be simplified.

The proposed property amendments to the Family Law Act are drafted to assist separating couples to better understand the decision-making framework used to resolve their property and financial. They are designed to reflect the current status of the existing case law.

The motivation behind these proposed amendments is to make ongoing improvements towards achieving a safer, faster and less costly family law system.

Key proposed changes

  1. Align the decision‑making principles for property settlement in the Family Law Act with existing case law.
  2. Introduce family violence as a new factor for consideration when determining what is a just and equitable property settlement, when relevant to the circumstances of the case.
  3. Simplify the steps a court would take when making final orders for property adjustment between parties by including the relevant considerations in one section for married couples and one section for de facto couples, instead of across multiple sections.
  4. Extend the less adversarial trial procedures (currently available in parenting matters) to property and financial matters, providing the Court with the ability to manage evidence where family violence is alleged between separating couples.
  5. Insert a specific duty of disclosure in property and financial matters in the Family Law Act, that would apply during court proceedings or when a party is preparing to start a proceeding.

If you have separated or are considering separating from your spouse, you should always obtain legal advice from an appropriately qualified family lawyer so you are aware of your entitlements to property settlement.  Please contact our family law team today to make an appointment.

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