A Far South Coast lawyer has lashed out at long waits for family court hearings, saying funds spent keeping refugee children in detention should be diverted to unclog the system.
Andrew Warren said Eurobodalla families were waiting up to two years for their day in court, making divorce more traumatic, especially for children. A lack of regional services forced cases to be heard in the ACT.
Mr Warren said couples with combined parenting and property applications before the Federal Circuit Court, may wait two years for a hearing date. “I don't think it is acceptable that parents have to wait two years to get their parenting disputes sorted out,” he said.
“Often, by the time you get to court, the status quo is entrenched. It is solely the responsibility of the Federal Government, which provides the funding for the courts.”
Judges involved were “incredibly hard-working and overworked” and “if the government spent less money keeping children locked up in detention, they might have more money to spend on the family court system”, Mr Warren said.
“Because it now takes so long to get a final hearing date in a parenting matter, more and more people are following interim applications, seeking to have interim orders made, pending a hearing date being provided. This just clogs the system up even more.”