This Act shall come into operation on a date to be fixed by Proclamation.
Repeal and saving
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1959, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1965 and the Matrimonial Causes Act 1966 are repealed.
Notwithstanding the repeal effected by subsection (1):
the validity of a decree made before the commencement of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959 by virtue of the Imperial Act entitled the Matrimonial Causes (War Marriages) Act, 1944 or Part I of the Matrimonial Causes (War Marriages) Act 1947 of New Zealand and in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall continue to be recognized in all courts in Australia;
a decree of the Supreme Court of a State or Territory made before the commencement of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959 in the exercise of jurisdiction invested or conferred by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1945, or that Act as amended by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1955, and in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall continue to have effect throughout Australia; and
a decree of the Supreme Court, or of a court of summary jurisdiction, of a State or Territory:
made before the commencement of this Act in the exercise of jurisdiction invested or conferred by the repealed Act, or in a matrimonial cause or proceedings for a separation order instituted under the law of that State or Territory, being a decree that was in force immediately before the commencement of this Act; or
made after the commencement of this Act in proceedings to which subsection 9(1) applied;
shall have, or continue to have, effect throughout Australia, and, except in the case of:
a decree of nullity of marriage made on the ground that the marriage was voidable;
a decree of judicial separation;
a decree of restitution of conjugal rights;
a decree of jactitation of marriage; or
a separation order;
this Act applies to and in relation to the decree as if the decree had been made under this Act.
For the purposes of paragraph (2)(c), a purported decree to which section 5 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1971 applied made in a State shall be deemed to be a decree of the Supreme Court of that State made in the exercise of jurisdiction invested by the repealed Act.
In this Act, the standard Rules of Court and the related Federal Magistrates Rules, unless the contrary intention appears:
Aboriginal child means a child who is a descendant of the Aboriginal people of Australia.
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture in relation to a child:
means the culture of the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community or communities to which the child belongs; and
includes Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander lifestyle and traditions of that community or communities.
abuse, in relation to a child, means:
an assault, including a sexual assault, of the child which is an offence under a law, written or unwritten, in force in the State or Territory in which the act constituting the assault occurs; or
a person involving the child in a sexual activity with that person or another person in which the child is used, directly or indirectly, as a sexual object by the first‑mentioned person or the other person, and where there is unequal power in the relationship between the child and the first‑mentioned person.
Accreditation Rules means regulations made under section 10A.
adopted, in relation to a child, means adopted under the law of any place (whether in or out of Australia) relating to the adoption of children.
alleged contravention, in Subdivision D of Division 6 of Part VII, means the alleged contravention because of which the alleged offender is arrested.
alleged offender, in Subdivision D of Division 6 of Part VII, means the person who is arrested.
appeal includes an application for a re‑hearing.
Appeal Division means the Appeal Division of the Family Court.
applicable Rules of Court:
in relation to the Federal Magistrates Court—means the related Federal Magistrates Rules; and
in relation to any other court—means the standard Rules of Court.
applicant includes a cross‑applicant and, in relation to proceedings for dissolution of marriage instituted before the commencement of this Act, includes a petitioner or cross‑petitioner.
applied provisions, when used in Division 13A of Part VII in relation to a community service order made under paragraph 70NFB(2)(a), means the provisions of the laws of a State or Territory (as modified by regulations made under subsection 70NFC(4)), that, because of regulations made under that subsection, apply in relation to the order.
appropriate authority, when used in Part VII in relation to a Commonwealth instrumentality, means a person:
who in, or in relation to, the instrumentality:
is an SES employee or acting SES employee; or
holds an office or position that is at a level equivalent to that of an SES employee; or
who is authorised in writing by the principal officer of the instrumentality to provide information under Commonwealth information orders.
appropriate officer, when used in Division 5 of Part III in relation to the Family Court, means:
the Chief Executive Officer of the Family Court; or
any other officer of the Family Court specified in writing by the Chief Executive Officer for the purposes of this definition.
arbitration has the meaning given by section 10L.
arbitrator has the meaning given by section 10M.
arresting person means the person who arrests the alleged offender.
artificial conception procedure includes:
artificial insemination; and
the implantation of an embryo in the body of a woman.
audio link means facilities (for example, telephone facilities) that enable audio communication between persons in different places.
Australia includes Norfolk Island.
bankruptcy trustee, in relation to a bankrupt, means the trustee of the bankrupt’s estate.
birth includes stillbirth.
captain, in relation to an aircraft or vessel, means the person in charge or command of the aircraft or vessel.
Chief Executive Officer means the Chief Executive Officer of the Family Court.
The Chief Executive Officer is appointed under section 38C. A person is appointed to act as the Chief Executive Officer under section 38M.
in Part VII, includes an adopted child and a stillborn child; and
in Subdivision E of Division 6 of that Part, means a person who is under 18 (including a person who is an adopted child).
childbirth maintenance period, in relation to the birth of a child, means the period that begins on the day mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) and ends 3 months after the child’s birth:
if the mother:
works in paid employment; and
is advised by a medical practitioner to stop working for medical reasons related to her pregnancy; and
stops working after being so advised and more than 2 months before the child is due to be born;
the period begins on the day on which she stops working; or
in any other case—the period begins on the day that is 2 months before the child is due to be born.
child maintenance order has the meaning given by subsection 64B(5).
child maintenance provisions, in relation to a parenting plan, has the meaning given by subsection 63C(5).
child of a marriage includes a child who is, under subsection 60F(1) or (2), a child of a marriage, but does not include a child who has, under subsection 60F(3), ceased to be a child of a marriage.
child‑related proceedings has the meaning given by section 69ZM.
child welfare law means a law of a State or Territory prescribed, or included in a class of laws of a State or Territory prescribed, for the purposes of this definition.
child welfare officer, in relation to a State or Territory, means:
a person who, because he or she holds, or performs the duties of, a prescribed office of the State or Territory, has responsibilities in relation to a child welfare law of the State or Territory; or
a person authorised in writing by such a person for the purposes of Part VII.
child welfare provisions, in relation to a parenting plan, has the meaning given by subsection 63C(4).
Commonwealth information order has the meaning given by subsection 67J(2).
Commonwealth instrumentality means a body or authority established for a public purpose by or under a law of the Commonwealth.
community service order has the meaning given by subsection 70NFC(3).
contravened an order, in Division 13A of Part VII, has the meaning given by section 70NAC.
court, in relation to any proceedings, means the court exercising jurisdiction in those proceedings by virtue of this Act.
debtor subject to a personal insolvency agreement has the meaning given by section 5.
decree means decree, judgment or order and includes:
an order dismissing an application; or
a refusal to make a decree or order.
de facto relationship means the relationship between a man and a woman who live with each other as spouses on a genuine domestic basis although not legally married to each other.
Department, in Subdivision C of Division 8 of Part VII, means a Department of State of the Commonwealth.
divorce means the termination of a marriage otherwise than by the death of a party to the marriage.
Annulment does not involve the termination of a marriage but simply a declaration that a purported marriage is in fact void.
divorce or validity of marriage proceedings means:
proceedings between the parties to a marriage, or by the parties to a marriage, for:
a divorce order in relation to the marriage; or
a decree of nullity of marriage; or
proceedings for a declaration as to the validity of:
a marriage; or
a divorce; or
the annulment of a marriage;
by decree or otherwise.
DPP means the Director of Public Prosecutions.
education includes apprenticeship or vocational training.
excluded order means:
an interim order; or
an order made in favour of a person where:
the order was made on the application of the person; and
notice of making the application was not served on any other person; and
no other person appeared at the hearing of the application.
family consultant has the meaning given by section 11B.
family counselling has the meaning given by section 10B.
family counsellor has the meaning given by section 10C.
family dispute resolution has the meaning given by section 10F.
family dispute resolution practitioner has the meaning given by section 10G.
Family Law Magistrate of Western Australia means a person who holds office concurrently:
as a magistrate under the Magistrates Court Act 2004 of Western Australia; and
as the Principal Registrar, or as a Registrar, of the Family Court of Western Australia.
family violence means conduct, whether actual or threatened, by a person towards, or towards the property of, a member of the person’s family that causes that or any other member of the person’s family reasonably to fear for, or reasonably to be apprehensive about, his or her personal wellbeing or safety.
A person reasonably fears for, or reasonably is apprehensive about, his or her personal wellbeing or safety in particular circumstances if a reasonable person in those circumstances would fear for, or be apprehensive about, his or her personal wellbeing or safety.
family violence order means an order (including an interim order) made under a prescribed law of a State or Territory to protect a person from family violence.
financial agreement means an agreement that is a financial agreement under section 90B, 90C or 90D, but does not include an ante‑nuptial or post‑nuptial settlement to which section 85A applies.
financial matters, in relation to the parties to a marriage, means matters with respect to:
the maintenance of one of the parties;
the property of those parties or of either of them; or
the maintenance of children of the marriage.
financial or Part VII proceedings means proceedings (being, unless the context otherwise requires, proceedings under this Act) of a kind referred to in any of paragraphs (c) to (eb) of the definition of matrimonial cause in this subsection or proceedings under Part VII.
forfeiture application means an application for a forfeiture order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
forfeiture order means a forfeiture order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Full Court means:
3 or more Judges of the Family Court sitting together, where a majority of those Judges are members of the Appeal Division; or
in relation to particular proceedings:
3 or more Judges of the Family Court sitting together, where, at the commencement of the hearing of the proceedings, a majority of those Judges were members of the Appeal Division; or
2 Judges of the Family Court sitting together, where those Judges are permitted, by subsection 28(4), to complete the hearing and determination, or the determination, of those proceedings.