'Surprising' family court reforms rejected

·2-min read

The federal government has ruled out key recommendations from a major review into the family courts.

The government has released its response to an Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into family law.

It was the first comprehensive review conducted since the Family Law Act was introduced in 1975.

The government rejected the commission's call for the establishment of state and territory family courts and child protection laws.

The recommendation was the first of 60 proposals to overhaul the system, but the government said it was not backed up by substantive submissions.

"The government was surprised at the inclusion of this recommendation," it said.

"While the government understands frustration with what has been described as the failed experiment of sharing jurisdiction between two federal courts and running family law matters in separate courts with separate rules and procedures, the government does not support this recommendation."

The government acknowledged the recommendation proposed one way to fix the "broken" split court system.

"But the alternative structure it proposes represents radical change to the federal, state and territory court systems and in the best possible scenario, would take years to fully implement, and in the most likely case scenario would not succeed past the early stages," it said.

The government also rejected a proposal to repeal laws requiring the courts to consider allowing children to spend significant time with each parent.

"The government remains committed to ensuring courts appropriately consider children spending equal time, or substantial and significant time, with each parent in determining disputes about children's arrangements," it said.

"This approach must, of course, also recognise there are reasons, including for safety, or relating to practicalities, why it will not always be in the best interests of a child equal time or substantial and significant time be spent with each parent."

In its response, the government agreed wholly, in principle or in part with 35 recommendations.

It noted six recommendations and disagreed with six.