THE FAMILY LAW COURT PROCESS

Upon separation, you will need to consider the division of your assets and liabilities (the matrimonial property pool) and if there are children of the relationship, the parenting arrangements for those children.

These can be achieved in a number of different ways;
1. By coming to an agreement between both parties, and informally dividing up the assets and liabilities.
2. By agreeing on care and financial arrangements for any children. If there is not a financial arrangement in place, you can apply to the Child Support Agency to make a ruling on child support payments.
3. If you would like to formalise either of the above arrangements you can do this by obtaining legal advice and
a. Entering into a parenting plan for parenting matters and arrangements,
b. Entering in to a binding child support agreement for child financial matters,
c. Entering into a Binding Financial Arrangement,
d. Applying for Consent Order in the Family Court for both children and financial matters which is approved as fair and equitable by the Court.

4. If you cannot agree on matters, you can visit a lawyer to help negotiate your matter between you and your spouse, and/or their legal practitioner.
5. If agreement can not be reached, you can apply to the court for
a. financial orders which relate to your property settlement,
b. spousal maintenance,
c. parenting matters
6. If you chose to go down the court path, you can then expect the following steps to occur for property matters.

Property Matters
1. Parties obtain legal advice
2. Parties disclose information/negotiate/mediate.
3. An Initiating Application, Affidavit and Financial Statement is filed with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
4. Your Initiating Application, Affidavit and Financial Statement is served on your spouse.
5. You spouse files a Response to the Initiating Application, Affidavit and Financial statement.
6. Both parties and your legal representation, if sought, attend the first return date at Court before a Judge.
7. Bother parties and your legal representation, attend a Conciliation Conference at court before a Registrar.
8. Both parties attend a Directions Hearing before a Judge if the matter does not settle at the Conciliation Conference.
9. Both parties attend a hearing before a Judge and may then proceed to trial.
10. Judgement is delivered, which usually takes between 3-6 months after this hearing.
11. The Judgement is implemented and assets are divided or sold, this step will take approximately 1.5 – 3years from separation for most property matters.

Settlement through continued negotiations can occur at anytime during this process, and will save the parties significant time, costs and emotional exhaustion. Peter Fisher Lawyers will guide you through the process with minimal detriment and the best advice for your particular matter at every stage.

For childrens matters, the facts of each matter is different and can lead to a different pathway, depending on urgency, risks involved and likelihood of mediation success. Please call our friendly family law team to discuss the particulars of your childrens matter.

The team at Peter Fisher Lawyers are highly experienced in both children and property matters. If you wish to discuss this with them, or any other issues around your separation and divorce, please contact our Family Law team on 8296 2690.