Family Law and the Court Process

Family Law and the Court Process

If you have been served with an Application by your ex-partner, you need to obtain expert legal advice. Seeing a Solicitor is not enough, you need to see someone who is experienced in Family Law.

Stages of the Court Process

  1. Initiating Application – this is the document which is prepared and filed (lodged) with the Court that starts court proceedings. The Application sets out the details of the parties, the children (if any) and the Orders sought. Together with the Application, an Affidavit (a statement) and various other documents are filed with the Federal Circuit Court (this is the Court that hears most family law matters).
  2. Court Date – a court date is set and advised at the time the Initiating Application is made.
  3. Response – a document called a Response to Initiating Application, together with an Affidavit and other documents, is prepared and served on the other party. This is the respondent’s chance to tell their version of events and outline the Orders they seek.
  4. First Return Date – this is the first time the matter is in Court. If the matter is a parenting matter (or parenting and property), it will usually be set down before a Judge. If the matter is about property only, then it will usually be heard by a Registrar. The first return date is an opportunity for the parties to negotiate. Every possible avenue of negotiation should be explored in the hopes the matter can be resolved and Consent Orders handed up to the Court. If resolution of the matter can be achieved, then the matter can be finalised on the day. However, if the matter cannot be resolved then it will need to be progressed.
  5. If the matter is a parenting matter, there are various options available to the Court. Sometimes, an Independent Children’s Lawyer will be appointed to represent the children, or a report might be ordered to assist the Judge in determining the issues and what should happen with the parenting arrangements. If the matter is a property matter, the parties will be sent away for mediation.
  6. Despite being in “the system”, there is ample opportunity to continue to try and negotiate throughout the course of the matter.

At Turnbull Legal Solutions we can help you navigate through the tricky court process. We understand it is an emotional time, with lots of unknowns. That is why you need expert legal advice and someone on your side who can guide you in the right direction. At Turnbull Legal Solutions we will do everything possible to try and negotiate the matter on your behalf so that you get the best outcome in a timely manner (and without large legal bills). However, we don’t shy away from going to Court. If your matter cannot be resolved via negotiation (and unfortunately there is a small percentage of matters that need to go to a final hearing) then we will represent you and support you until the end of your matter.

Contact our office today so that we can assess your legal matter and provide you with expert advice on what to do next.

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