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FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 39

Jurisdiction in matrimonial causes

             (1)  Subject to this Part, a matrimonial cause may be instituted under this Act:

                     (a)  in the Family Court; or

                     (b)  in the Supreme Court of a State or a Territory.

          (1A)  Subject to this Part, a matrimonial cause (other than proceedings of a kind referred to in subparagraph (a)(ii) or paragraph (b) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1)) may be instituted under this Act in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

             (2)  Subject to this Part, a matrimonial cause (other than proceedings of a kind referred to in subparagraph (a)(ii) or paragraph (b) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1)) may be instituted under this Act in a Court of summary jurisdiction of a State or Territory.

             (3)  Proceedings for a divorce order may be instituted under this Act if, at the date on which the application for the order is filed in a court, either party to the marriage:

                     (a)  is an Australian citizen;

                     (b)  is domiciled in Australia; or

                     (c)  is ordinarily resident in Australia and has been so resident for 1 year immediately preceding that date.

             (4)  Proceedings of a kind referred to in the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1), other than proceedings for a divorce order or proceedings referred to in paragraph (f) of that definition, may be instituted under this Act if:

                     (a)  in the case of proceedings between the parties to a marriage or proceedings of a kind referred to in paragraph (b) of that definition in relation to a marriage--either party to the marriage is an Australian citizen, is ordinarily resident in Australia, or is present in Australia, at the relevant date; and

                     (b)  in any other case--any party to the proceedings is an Australian citizen, is ordinarily resident in Australia, or is present in Australia, at the relevant date.

          (4A)  In subsection (4), relevant date , in relation to proceedings, means:

                     (a)  if the application instituting the proceedings is filed in a court--the date on which the application is so filed; or

                     (b)  in any other case--the date on which the application instituting the proceedings is made.

             (5)  Subject to this Part and to section 111AA, the Supreme Court of each State is invested with federal jurisdiction, and jurisdiction is conferred on the Family Court and on the Supreme Court of each Territory, with respect to matters arising under this Act in respect of which:

                     (a)  matrimonial causes are instituted under this Act; or

                     (b)  matrimonial causes are continued in accordance with section 9; or

                     (d)  proceedings are instituted under regulations made for the purposes of section 109, 110, 111, 111A or 111B or of paragraph 125(1)(f) or (g) or under Rules of Court made for the purposes of paragraph 123(1)(r); or

                   (da)  proceedings are instituted under Division 4 of Part XIIIAA or under regulations made for the purposes of section 111CZ; or

                     (e)  proceedings are instituted under section 117A.

       (5AA)  Subject to this Part and to section 111AA, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia has, and is taken always to have had, jurisdiction with respect to matters arising under this Act in respect of which matrimonial causes (other than proceedings of a kind referred to in subparagraph (a)(ii) or paragraph (b) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1)) are instituted under this Act.

          (5A)  Subject to this Part and to section 111AA, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia has jurisdiction with respect to matters arising under this Act in respect of which proceedings are instituted under:

                     (a)  regulations made for the purposes of section 109, 110, 111, 111A or 111B; or

                     (b)  regulations made for the purposes of paragraph 125(1)(f) or (g); or

                     (c)  section 117A; or

                     (d)  proceedings are instituted under Division 4 of Part XIIIAA or under regulations made for the purposes of section 111CZ.

             (6)  Subject to this Part and to section 111AA, each court of summary jurisdiction of each State is invested with federal jurisdiction, and jurisdiction is conferred on each court of summary jurisdiction of each Territory, with respect to matters arising under this Act in respect of which:

                     (a)  matrimonial causes (other than proceedings of a kind referred to in subparagraph (a)(ii) or paragraph (b) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1)) are instituted under this Act; or

                     (b)  matrimonial causes (other than proceedings of a kind referred to in subparagraph (a)(ii) or paragraph (b) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1)) are continued in accordance with section 9; or

                     (d)  proceedings are instituted under:

                              (i)  regulations made for the purposes of section 109, 110, 111, 111A or 111B; or

                             (ii)  regulations made for the purposes of paragraph 125(1)(f) or (g); or

                            (iii)  standard Rules of Court made for the purposes of paragraph 123(1)(r); or

                            (iv)  Rules of Court made for the purposes of paragraph 87(1)(j) of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999 ; or

                   (da)  proceedings are instituted under Division 4 of Part XIIIAA or under regulations made for the purposes of section 111CZ; or

                     (e)  proceedings are instituted under section 117A.

Note:          Under section 39A of the Judiciary Act 1903 , the jurisdiction conferred by this subsection on a State court of summary jurisdiction may only be exercised by certain judicial officers of the court.

             (7)  The Governor-General may, by Proclamation, fix a day as the day on and after which proceedings in relation to matters arising under this Part may not be instituted in, or transferred to, a court of summary jurisdiction in a specified State or Territory.

    (7AAA)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (7), a Proclamation under that subsection may be expressed to apply only in relation to one or more of the following:

                     (a)  proceedings of specified classes;

                     (b)  the institution of proceedings in, or the transfer of proceedings to, a court of summary jurisdiction in a specified part of a State or Territory;

                     (c)  the institution of proceedings in, or the transfer of proceedings to, a court of summary jurisdiction constituted in a specified way.

       (7AA)  A court of summary jurisdiction in a State or Territory shall not hear or determine proceedings under this Act instituted in or transferred to that court otherwise than in accordance with any Proclamation in force under subsection (7).

          (7A)  The Governor-General may, by Proclamation, declare that a Proclamation made under subsection (7) is revoked on and from a specified date and, on and after the specified date, this Act (including subsection (7)) has effect as if the revoked Proclamation had not been made, but without prejudice to the effect of the revoked Proclamation in respect of the jurisdiction of courts before the specified date.

             (8)  Jurisdiction with respect to a matter arising under this Act in respect of which a matrimonial cause is instituted under this Act is not conferred on a court of a Territory unless at least one of the parties to the proceedings is, at the date of the institution of the proceedings or the date of the transfer of the proceedings to the court of the Territory, ordinarily resident in the Territory.

             (9)  The jurisdiction conferred on or invested in a court by this section includes jurisdiction with respect to matters arising under any law of the Commonwealth in respect of which proceedings are transferred to that court in accordance with this Act.



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