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Impending judicial retirements likely to result in delay for final hearing of family law disputes

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The impending retirement of a dozen Federal Circuit Court judges will impact on the waiting times and delays experienced by separated families needing a judge to resolve their family law disputes. 

In an recent article released  in the Sydney Morning Herald (Court gridlock leaves families waiting three years for child custody to be resolved, 7 November 2014), Chief Judge Pascoe of the Federal Circuit Court is quoted as stating “The Federal Circuit Court is facing a large number of judicial retirements in the next 12 months.  The Attorney-General is aware of the pending retirements and of the court’s heavy workload. I have indicated to the Attorney the pressure that is currently faced in particular registries such as Parramatta.”  In total a dozen of 65 sitting judges are about to retire.

 “In a high volume court, timely replacements of retiring judges is critical in ensuring that families in distress are dealt with as quickly as possible because delays in accessing the courts can adversely impact on families, especially children.”

 In the face of anticipated impending court delays, parties will need to continue to evaluate if court action if the most suitable, cost effective and time effective dispute resolution option for them.

 For a small percentage of families, court action may be the only way for families to resolve disputes regarding children or family finances.

 Hearteningly, the majority of families are able to resolve disputes without court intervention.  Parents may wish to, or in some cases must,  participate in Family Dispute Resolution in relation to children’s disputes and mediation in relation to financial issues.  Parties can attempt mediation with the assistance of government and other agencies such as Relationships Australia, or with the help of their acting solicitor in a more formal setting.

For advice relating to relationship breakdown including your dispute resolution options for resolving your family law dispute, do not hesitate to contact Belinda Spong on +61 85400238 or Belinda.spong@mst.com.au