2 Year Wait.
2 Year Wait For Your Day In Court
Separating couples in Western Australia are experiencing a 2 year wait, on average, for their divorce proceedings to be heard in the Family Court. Figures released in the Family Court of Western Australia’s annual report for 2018/19 show the median wait for a court hearing about parenting matters is 100 weeks and financial matters is 85 weeks.
Although the median wait for financial matters has fallen 7%, parenting matters have remained steady meaning the overall figure has not improved over the last reporting year. Matters scheduled for a court hearing that did not proceed to trial but were settled out of court have risen 7% to a median of 46 weeks, reflecting an ongoing trend away from court and towards collaborative processes.
The Family Court applies an internal performance target of 52 weeks for parenting matters and 60 weeks for financial matters. In the last reporting year 17% of parenting matters met that target and 12% of financial matters met that target.
Long delays for court appearances could be the driver of the biggest growth area in family law, consent orders, which have seen a rise of 16% in the last reporting year. Consent orders are based on a process of negotiation between the parties which excludes any court appearances. Consent orders can be finalised in as little as 8 weeks so long as the parties are able to reach agreement.
The recent Review of the Australian Family Law system commissioned by the Turnbull Government found that most families in Australia resolve both parenting and financial issues without resorting to the family law system. The study found up to 70% of separating families provide for parenting arrangements independent of the family law system and up to 40% of parent divide their assets through discussion.
For help with your separation or parenting issues call BrightSide
Susan Hewitt is the Principal at Bright Side Family Law, a non-litigious family law and mediation practice. Susan has worked as a lawyer and journalist for almost 30 years. She is an accredited collaborative lawyer and family-law mediator who is committed to helping families through their relationship breakdown in an honest, cooperative and respectful manner.
If you are facing a family law matter call or email Bright Side https://brightsidefamilylaw.com.au/contact-us/