New Couples Counselling Voucher Trial
As of 1 July 2014, a $200 voucher will be made available to couples to enable them to seek couples counselling in an effort by the government to keep families together.
Couples will be eligible to receive this voucher when they register their “intention to marry” and this will include same sex couples despite the fact that it is not yet legal for same sex couples to marry. All couples have to be over the age of 18.
Couples can register online at the Department of Social Services website to obtain the voucher for relationship education (including parenting information, conflict resolution assistance and financial management) and counselling. However, these vouchers are limited (only 100,000 vouchers will be made available this year) as this service is being trialled over a 12 month period.
The Federal Government is hoping that this $20 million dollar trial will strengthen Australian relationships in support of research that according to Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews “consistently finds that marriage and relationship education assists committed, married, engaged or cohabitating couples to move through the phases of their relationship with improved relationship skills, strengthening relationships for up to 5 years.”
We also note that as of 1 July 2014, the Federal Circuit Court filing fee for divorce has risen from $800 to $875.