The A- Z of Family Law

In this week’s series on the A – Z of Family Law, Georgia takes a look at the letter J and K, covering the topics of Judicial officers & Section 90K.

Judicial officers

‘Judicial officer’ is the broad overarching term that describes judges and other individuals within the court system that have the capacity and power to make decisions. In the family court, Judges are called Justices. In the federal circuit court of Australia, they are called Judges.

The level under judge is a Senior Registrar and thereafter Registrars. Usually, such individuals come from a background of having been a practicing solicitor and they are very experienced in the area. Late last year a further and expansive delegation of powers was given to Registrars and Senior Registrars of the court so that they can make further decisions. In particular, Senior Registrars can make decisions at interim hearings for example interim parenting matters including what is going to happen with the care arrangements for your children and/or they can also make decisions with respect to some property interests on an interim basis, including spouse payments.

A Registrar will also assist you in a conciliation conference. A conciliation conference aims to help parties resolve and reach an agreement on parenting issues and financial issues arising from the breakdown of a relationship.

Section 90K – Setting Aside or Terminating a Financial Agreement

Section 90K provides for the circumstances in which a court may set aside a financial agreement or termination agreement attached to a court order. A court may make an order setting aside a financial agreement or a termination agreement if, and only if, the Court is satisfied of one of the following (s 90K of the Family Law Act):

  • The agreement was obtained by fraud (including non-disclosure of a material matter); or
  • Defrauding someone – creditor or spouse, or reckless disregard for those people’s interests
  • the agreement is void, voidable, or unenforceable;
  • it is impracticable to be carried out due to circumstances that have arisen since the agreement was made;
  • there has been a material change in circumstances that has occurred (e.g. care, welfare, or development of a child of the marriage), caring responsibilities, and hardship
  • unconscionable conduct

Check out the other Letters in the A – Z of Family Law: