Business

Legal fraternity backs Budget's family court reforms

The Coffs Harbour Court House.
The Coffs Harbour Court House. Leigh Jensen

LOCAL family lawyer Heather McKinnon has welcomed the Turnbull Government's Federal Budget commitment to family law services, saying the committment is long overdue support for children and young parents.

The Commonwealth Government has announced the first comprehensive review of the Family Law Act in 40 years, as well as $80 million in funding for frontline family law services.

Family Lawyer Heather McKinnon, who practises with Slater and Gordon in Coffs Harbour, said the introduction of parental management hearings and extra family consultants could divert many relatively trivial matters away from court.

 

Coffs Harbour family lawyer Heather McKinnon.
Coffs Harbour family lawyer Heather McKinnon. David Barwell

"Australia used to have a world class family law system, but more recently the courts have been overwhelmed by smaller parenting disputes that divert attention away from more serious cases," Ms McKinnon said. 

"Some of the most common smaller disputes tying up Family Court resources include: 

  • Which school or preschool the children should attend;
  • Scheduling and frequency of telephone or video calls with the children;
  • Drop-off and pick-up arrangements, including whether they will attend each other's houses or meet on common ground somewhere in the middle;
  • How many nights the children will spend with each parent and when;
  • How school holidays are shared;
  • Who should pay for costs of visits, including petrol costs driving between houses.

Ms McKinnon said when the docket is overflowing with smaller matters, the more serious cases can either be excessively delayed or not given sufficient hearing time. 

"To put it in context, sometimes a judge will hear a school drop-off dispute next to a case involving allegations of physical violence or drug addiction," she said.  

"These more serious cases usually involve evidence from a clinical psychologist or child psychiatrist about whether parents are sufficiently rehabilitated to resume parenting responsibilities, or if there's still a risk of relapse that could endanger the child. 

"When there is increased pressure on judges reviewing these serious cases, there is a greater chance that a child could be placed in a dangerous situation, or not removed fast enough." 

Ms McKinnon said a family consultant trial program in Parramatta included in this year's budget could alleviate this risk by effectively providing 'triage nurses' for the Family Court.  

Topics:  coffs harbour courthouse family law court federal budget 2017 federal government heather mckinnon legal



Getting the job done one step at a time

CRANE GAIN: Woopi Gardens committee members thank Coffs City Cranes driver Russell Hoyle for donating his time.

The latest instillation at the community gardens.

Sow volunteers to help Coffs Harbour Reap

GIVING TYPE: Coffs' Reap Food Rescue coordinator Julie Ferguson is appealing for more volunteers to help meet the demands of the growing food charity.

More volunteers are needed to help meet growing demand

Kids will love living in this new Coffs Harbour estate

FAMILY FRIENDLY: This children's playground is the latest family-friendly feature of the Elements@Coffs estate.

Local land estate unveils newest family friendly feature

Local Partners

Bright sparks think about recycling

Is your toothbrush coming to the end of its usable life or are you furiously trying to squeeze out the last little glob of toothpaste?


What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Petula Clark delighted to sing live for Australian fans

STILL TOURING: English singer Petula Clark is coming to Queensland.

English star Petula Clark still puts on a great show, even at 84.

Do you really know your road rules?

Cars travel around the roundabout at Villiers and Fitzroy Street. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

List of the top 10 most misunderstood road rules in NSW.

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

LISA Wilkinson has denied a gender pay gap on The Today Show despite reports claiming her co-host Karl Stefanovic earns more than double her wage.

Rebel Wilson trial: The secret we never could have known

Rebel Wilson outside court

“Most people wouldn’t know it exists,” she said.

Janet’s back in the ring

Marta Dusseldorp returns in season three of the TV series Janet King.

Season three of ABC's legal drama delves deeper than ever before.

Game of Thrones drops new trailer for season 7

Game of Thrones fans have been given a new trailer for season 7.

Fans are finally getting a full-throttled peak at season seven.

How true-blue train driver became a TV star

Bernie Baker stars in the TV series Railroad Australia.

Fan reactions still surprise Bernie Baker.

Conviction for Snapchat body shaming of elderly woman

Dani Mathers was arrested after snapping a photo of a naked, elderly woman in a US gym and posting it on social media. Picture: Supplied

Model convicted for secretly snapping and posting a naked gym pic

What's on the big screen this week

 Kaya Scodelario and Johnny Depp in a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

JACK Sparrow faces an old foe and Sam Worthington stars in The Shack

Kids will love living in this new Coffs Harbour estate

FAMILY FRIENDLY: This children's playground is the latest family-friendly feature of the Elements@Coffs estate.

Local land estate unveils newest family friendly feature

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

UPDATE: Details revealed on rural land rezoning

REZONING: Large areas of Bonville have been rezoned for residential

Land rezoning will turn farmland into residential living

Bonville to become new housing hub

REZONING: Large areas of Bonville have been rezoned for residential

Land rezoning will turn farmland into housing

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!