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The Lighthouse Project

In recent months the team at Mahony Family Lawyers has been learning about new initiatives implemented by the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

The Lighthouse Project is one of these initiatives. It is designed to improve the safety of family law litigants who may have experienced family violence and children who may have experienced associated risks such as child abuse.

The Lighthouse Project will see the Courts screen for risk with a primary focus on improving outcomes for families in the family law system. The Parramatta Registry is one of the registries where the project is being piloted.

The Lighthouse Project

There are three parts to the process:

  1. Screening;

2. Triage and case pathways; and

3. Case management.

Screening - Lighthouse Project

Screening

When an Application or Response is filed with the Court requesting parenting orders only then the parties will be asked to complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire is confidential and via a secure online platform known as ‘Family DOORS Triage.’

It is important that parties complete the questionnaire so that the Court has the opportunity to assess the level of risk in the family law matter.

Triage and case pathways

A dedicated and specialist team at the Court will then assess and direct cases to the most appropriate case management pathway. This decision is made by the specialist team assessing the level of risk. The team includes, Registrars, family counsellors and support staff based at the Court. At this triage stage the team will also identify parties who may require additional support and specific safety measures.

Triage and Case Pathways

Case Management

Case management

The case management stage of the process is where the family law case will be directed into one of three case management streams. The three streams are:

  1. The Evatt list – to assist families who have been identified as being at high risk of family violence and other safety concerns.
  2. Other case management – for families who have been identified as low to moderate risk cases.
  3. Alternate Dispute Resolution – for court ordered family dispute resolution to assist families to resolve the issues in their case as soon as possible.

In recent months our team of family law solicitors have attended a number of presentations to hear directly from Senior Registrars and Family Consultants about the Lighthouse Project. We have developed an understanding of how to assist our clients through the processes involved and look forward to providing ongoing assistance to our clients.