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Browse the most critical legislation, court decisions, studies, useful websites and more for those practising in family and children’s law.

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Family and Children's Law

Australia’s family law system helps people resolve the issues arising from the breakdown of a relationship – marriage or de facto. In the case of marriage, these issues are not limited to divorce but also:

  • parenting arrangements
  • child relocation
  • spousal maintenance
  • child support and/or adult child maintenance
  • property and financial settlements (including financial agreements that can be made before, during or after a relationship)
  • adoption
  • surrogacy.

Since the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), family law sits within the Commonwealth jurisdiction, although there can be intersection with state legislation depending on the issues in the case. In all states and territories except Western Australia, family law proceedings are usually heard in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or for more complicated matters, the Family Court of Australia. In Western Australia, family law proceedings are generally heard in the Family Court of WA (state court) as WA has not referred its powers to the Commonwealth.

Children’s law, or child protection law as it is sometimes called, is an area of law focusing on matters in which a child has been, or is at risk of being, removed from their family and being placed in state care. Child protection sits within the state jurisdiction and in Victoria, child protection lawyers primarily practice in the Children’s Court of Victoria.

Contact

Call or email the senior policy lawyer of the Family Law Section for more information about joining the section or one of its committees.

T: 03 9607 9443
E: familylawsection@liv.asn.au

  • Legal Profession Uniform Law

    View fact sheets, precedents, articles and other resources to help you understand how you and your law practice may be affected by the Uniform Law.



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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an ICL?

    An ICL, or an Independent Children’s Lawyer, is a lawyer who represents the children's interest in proceedings. In family law matters, the appointment of an ICL is made pursuant to s68L(2) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and in the case of Re K (1994) FLC 92–461 the full Court of the Family Court of Australia set out the criteria that the Court should consider when determining whether or not to make an Order for such an appointment.

  • How do I become an ICL?

    The Law Council of Australia’s Family Law Section offers an ICL training program. To register your interest, please visit the National ICL website.

    Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) has an Independent Children’s Lawyer panel. For further information about eligibility for the panel and the process, please visit the VLA website.

    ICLs can also be appointed from a pool of private practitioners by agreement between the parties. 

  • What is the relationship between family law and child protection?

    Sometimes, a child who is the subject of a family law dispute may also be a child of interest by the state child welfare authority (DHHS). It is possible to have concurrent family law and child protection proceedings on foot. See s69ZK of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). 

  • Can I become an accredited specialist in family law and children’s law?

    Yes, the LIV offers both Family Law and Children’s Law as areas of specialisation and many practitioners practising in children’s matters hold dual accredited specialisation.