The family court in Sydney is a superior federal court that deals with family-related law matters. It handles legal matters, such as parenting disputes, divorce applications, and property division when a couple separates, child abuse, or family violence.

The core function of the family court is to determine cases with intricate law, parties, and facts, and provide an oversight function for matters relating to family law. Although many people would not want to find themselves in a family court in Sydney, situations sometimes warrant settling of cases in the court. This is especially the case with divorce.

What to Expect in a Family Court Sydney Proceeding

The family court process differs and it mostly depends on the scenarios surrounding each case. However, irrespective of the scenario or the case, the procedures are generally the same. It contains specific steps from the beginning to the end. So, what should you be expecting if you want to initiate a family court Sydney proceeding?

Preparation and Filing

The plaintiff, the person bringing legal action to the court, must file an Initiation Application to the court. The application will contain the orders that the plaintiff desires that the court will make. It should be supported by an affidavit that sets out the specific evidence that the applicant has.

If it is a case associated with property division, the plaintiff is also required to present a completed and sworn Financial Statement, stating the financial circumstances in the case. After the Initiating Application has been filed, the respondent would receive a copy of the application and they have to file a Response to Initiating Application as well as a supporting Affidavit.

First Family Court Sydney Date

The first family court Sydney date usually takes place about six to twelve weeks after the first filing. On this date, the court will make specific procedural orders on how the matter will proceed and the required steps to be taken by both parties.

Interim Hearing

Couple meeting a family court Sydney specialist

Sometimes, the parties may seek interim orders and for this, the family court in Sydney may set a specific date and time for it. At this hearing, the judge reads the Affidavits provided by both parties and witnesses. Next, the judge will hear the short oral presentations from the parties’ lawyers or the individuals, if they are representing themselves. Based on this, the judge makes a decision.

Conciliation Conference

A conciliation conference may be required if it involves property matters. This is a mediation proceeding and it presents an opportunity for negotiation between the parties to narrow the issues or reach a final agreement. If the parties can reach an agreement, they can proceed with Consent Orders to finalize the matter.

Child Dispute Conferences

If the case involves parenting matters, the parties would be asked to go through a Child Dispute Conference. Here, the parties meet with an appointed Family Consultant by the court to discuss issues relating to the dispute to reach an agreement. The outcome of the agreement, including the consultant’s recommendations, will be presented to the judge.

Final Hearing

If the parties are unable to reach a final agreement after all the steps have been taken, the family court in Sydney will set a date for the final hearing. This may run for up to three days, depending on the difficulty of the case. It is at this point that the judge will hear the final arguments of the parties, their witnesses, and going through the evidence. The judge would not make a final decision on this date but rather fix another date for the judgment.

Final Judgment

At the end of the family court Sydney proceedings, the judge would pronounce the judgment. It is usually within three months after the end of the trial. The date for the delivery of the decision will be communicated to the parties and they would need to attend the court on the set date.

The family court is often a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. In many cases, it is recommended that family disputes should be resolved by seeking legal advice and the court should be the last option.