Who’s Who in Family Court


A Judge in the Family Court hears cases in a trial conducted in a Courtroom.  The Judge has the authority to make decisions about family law matters.  Some of the Court’s Judges are appointed to the Full Court of the Family Court, they hear appeals from decisions of a single Judge and in some circumstances from the Federal Magistrates’ Court


Judicial Officer

A person who has been appointed to hear and decide cases; for instance a judge.



Registrars are experienced family lawyers who work for the Court.  They have been appointed to perform certain tasks such as grant divorces, sign consent orders and decide the next step in the case.

Registrars cannot give legal advice but they can talk with you about the legal principles that are applied in deciding cases.


Family Consultants

Family consultants are psychologists and/or social workers who specialise in child and family issues after separation and divorce.

Family consultants can help you and the Courts in many ways.  They can:

  • help you and the other party resolve your dispute
  • assist and advise the Courts and give evidence about your case
  • write and provide a report to the Courts about your family, and
  • advise the Courts about the services provided to families by government, community and other agencies.


Do I have to see the family consultant?

Yes, if a family consultant has been assigned to your case.  You will usually attend an initial conference with the family consultant, and further conferences as appropriate to help you either resolve your dispute or assist in progressing your matter through the Court.  The family consultant may also ask to speak with your child.

If you cannot resolve your dispute, the judicial officer may order a family report be prepared.  If this happens, you will need to attend further conferences with the family consultant.

Sometimes the judicial officer may order that you see the family consultant after parenting orders have been made.  This will assist you and your family adjust to and comply with parenting orders.

If you fail to attend any appointment with a family consultant or to follow instructions made by the family consultant, the family consultant must report this to the Courts.


Can I speak ‘off-the-record’ with the family consultant?

No, communication with family consultants is not confidential, and may be used in court.  At the beginning of a conference, the family consultant must tell you it is not confidential.  If you are still unsure what this means, ask the family consultant to explain it again, so that you do understand.