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Family Law Amendment (Financial Agreements and Other Measures) Bill 2015

1. The Law Council of Australia welcomes the opportunity to provide comments on the Family Law Amendment (Financial Agreements and Other Measures) Bill 2015

2. The Law Council is the national peak body for the legal profession. Further information about the Law Council is at Attachment A

3. This submission has been prepared by the Law Council’s Family Law Section (FLS). The Family Law Section is the largest professional association for family law practitioners, with a membership of almost 2,500 from all Australian States and Territories together with a number of international members. It exists to positively influence the development and practice of family law for the benefit of its members and the general community, and to promote professional excellence and influence decision making, so that the family law system in Australia is fair, respected, functional and responsive to community needs. 

4. The FLS has, for over a decade, made submissions to Government and called for amendments to address inadequacies in the legislative provisions in dealing with financial agreements. 

5. Many of the concerns initially raised by the FLS, came to a head in the decision of the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia in Black v Black which is referred to below. 

6. The FLS notes that the post Black amendments to the legislation, that came into operation in January 2010, did not address many of the concerns raised by the FLS regarding the financial agreement provisions in the Family Law Act 1975 (the Act). 

7. Many of the issues identified by the FLS both prior to and subsequent to the Federal Justice Amendment (Efficiency Measures) Act 2008, were unfortunately, not dealt with and are now the subject of the amendments to be made by the terms of the amending Bill now before the House. 

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