The Lighthouse Project is an initiative taken by the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court which aims to improve outcomes for families involved in the family law system. The Lighthouse Project is currently being piloted in the Federal Circuit Court registries in Adelaide, Brisbane and Parramatta.
Separation is not only a difficult time for the parties involved, but the children as well. Australian family law expresses children’s right to enjoy a meaningful relationship with both parents, including their protection from any form of harm.
In general, people see the court process as confusing, lengthy, expensive and burdensome and often these perceptions are all true. Alternate dispute resolution (‘ADR’) consists of a variety of alternative measures that can be used to try and solve your legal problems before having to begin a formal court case. ADR has the potential to make your legal conflict cheaper, more flexible and often a resolution can be reached quicker.
The COVID-19 pandemic has instigated major change globally but perhaps the most pervasive transformation to everyday life has been the society-wide lockdowns, meaning more people are at home far more often than usual. Unfortunately, these stay-at-home measures have detrimentally impacted those in situations of family violence, with the perpetrator being home all day and the person experiencing family violence having their escape or any options to seek help severely diminished, if not extinguished entirely. This restriction of movement has already been shown to make violence in homes more frequent and more severe.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a marked increase in urgent Family Law cases as a direct result of the current climate, with the Courts reporting a 39% increase of cases in the Family Court of Australia and a 23% increase of cases in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia over a four week period in March and April 2020.