Before applying to the Court for consideration of parenting proceedings there are a number of different steps parties must follow before the Court will consider their matter.
Genuine attempt to resolve
The first thing the Family Law Act requires is that a party applying to the Court for a parenting order must have already tried to resolve disputes regarding parenting using family dispute resolution services. These attempts commonly take the form of family mediation and dispute resolution conferences where parties attempt to come to an agreement with the assistance of a mediator or practitioner. If this attempt is unsuccessful, the parties will be provided with a certificate which proves that the attempt to resolve outside Court had been made.
Define the Issues
If the issues remain unresolved after attempts in family dispute resolution, parties must then determine the actual issues in dispute. This ensures that parties do not needlessly take up the Court’s time and resources, but that the use of these resources is clearly focused on the actual issues in dispute. If parties are not able to detail what is in dispute between them to the Court’s satisfaction, the Court is unlikely to hear their matter.
The duty of disclosure needs to be complied with as much as possible before approaching the Court. This means that both parties must disclose fully all assets and liabilities they hold, whether relevant to the relationship or not. Disclosure must be complied with so that the Court is able to make a correct assessment of the financial situation between the parties.
Sometimes there are good reasons for parties to not complete the above requirements. Common situations where the Court tends to accept that pre-trial obligations are not appropriate include situations where there is child or family violence, abuse or some other urgency. If you believe it is not appropriate for you to complete the pre-trial obligations, you must be able to convince the Court that you have a good reasons for doing so.
If you need assistance in complying with your pre-trial obligations or have questions about the above, please contact us on (02) 9688 6023.
This is not legal advice.