When you first start navigating the family law system, it can feel like trying to navigate a map in another language. The forms, process, time frames and the terminology can all feel bamboozling!
Let’s make it simple and explain some of the key steps involved in family law processes.
Firstly, there are two courts in Australia that oversee family law matters; the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court of Australia (FCoA). Most cases are heard in the Federal Circuit Court (FCC). The FCoA is reserved for more complex matters, like these.
Main types of court dates in the Federal Circuit Court
There are three main types of court dates in the FCC and they are;
- Direction Hearings or Mentions
- Interim Hearings
- Final Hearings
Direction Hearings / Mentions in the Federal Circuit Court
Direction Hearings or Mentions are brief Court appearances where the Judge or Registrar makes orders for the next steps that need to be taken to progress and resolve the matter. For example, dispute resolution, financial valuations, disclosure or family therapy may be ordered. Sometimes there is more than one Direction Hearing and as these are focused on determining the next steps for progressing the matter, there generally won’t be an opportunity for the actual issues in dispute to be decided or determined.
How long after filing an application will a matter be heard in the Federal Circuit Court?
Usually, the first court date will be held 6- 8weeks after the applicant (the person making the application) has filed their application with the Court. An application can be filed either in person at the Court registry or online. If you file in-person, registry staff will write the date, time and location of your first Court date on your application. If an application is filed electronically, a range of available dates will be indicated and the Applicant will choose one of the available dates.
If you are the respondent to an application in the Federal Circuit Court, when do you find out hearing dates?
If you are the respondent (the person who has not made the application but is responding to an application), you will be notified of the date, time and location of the first Court Date when you are served with the application.
Book a free 20 minute consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers and we can help you make sense of these complex processes in light of your matter today on (07) 3548 5868.