When someone has separated from their spouse or de facto partner, they may make an appointment with their family lawyers assuming that the next stage in the process of formalising their divorce is to go to Family Court. Invariably, they will be told by their family lawyer that, rather than being the next stage, the court is likely to be the final stage in the process.
The days of the Family Court being the arena where all divorces are played out is long gone and this now tends to be the exception, rather than the rule. That occurs, firstly, because many couples can settle all divorce matters, including property and their children, amicably and through their family lawyers facilitating an agreement between them. All the Family Court then does is confirm the settlement is fair and grant the divorce.
Federal Circuit and Family Court Rules 2021
The second reason why the Family Court is not involved in the earlier stages of a divorce is Family Law and recent changes to it. In September 2021 new rules relating to divorce came into effect, namely the Federal Circuit and Family Court Rules 2021. These rules laid down principles that obligate separated couples to use all their efforts to try to negotiate an agreement before they seek intervention from the Family Court.