Westminster Lawyers Outline Court Events Involved In Litigation Of Family Law Cases With New Infographic

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In order to minimise the stress associated with divorce and separation, most experts advise resolving issues outside of the Court. But if the parties involved cannot reach an amicable settlement, they will be best served by knowing the various steps involved in a court proceeding.

Family Law Firm

Our approach is to resolve issues in a dignified, timely and cost-effective manner. But if a dispute can't be easily settled, we will take strong and decisive action in Court proceedings.

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Quite often, estranged couples cannot work out a solution regarding issues related to property and parenting. When an out-of-court settlement is out of the question, the whole affair is elevated either to the Federal Magistrates Court or to a Family Court.

In the latest infographic released by Westminster Lawyers, the law firm specialising in Family Law outlines the requirements and the court events related to the litigation of a case involving property, parenting or both.

In filing a case in the Federal Magistrates Court, the whole procedure begins with the issue proceedings wherein pertinent documents are submitted such as an initiating application, an affidavit, a financial statement (if the issue at hand involves financial matters) and a certificate from a registered family dispute resolution.

Six to eight weeks after these documents have been submitted, a duty list hearing follows. At this stage, the Court may give directions, approve consent orders, conduct an interim hearing, finalise the application and set a date for a final hearing of the case at hand.

In the event that interim hearings are required, the Court will make temporary orders concerning pressing matters that cannot wait until final decisions have been made like those involving children or property.

About two months after the duty list hearing, a conciliation conference is conducted. Nine to twelve months after the first hearing, a trial or final hearing is conducted. If at this stage the parties involved still cannot reach an agreement, the judge will be the one to make a decision based on statements by witnesses and the supporting documents provided.

On the other hand, if a case is filed in a Family Court, the process begins with Issue Proceedings wherein the necessary documents are submitted.

Six to eight weeks after submitting the documents, both parties involved must attend a case assessment conference with a registrar. At this stage, the registrar gives the parties an opportunity to resolve issues and reach an agreement without going to trial.

About two months after the duty list hearing, a conciliation conference is conducted. If there are disagreements regarding financial issues, or in some instances parenting issues, such matters are tackled at this stage.

This will then be followed by procedural and interim hearing. For financial cases, procedural orders are made by the registrar so that the case will be progressed to a judge and a date for a hearing is scheduled. For parenting cases, the registrar makes procedural orders so that the case is deemed appropriate and ready to proceed in the Family Court.

A pre-trial conference follows. At this phase, the family lawyers Melbourne residents hire attend a settlement meeting with the judge. This gives the judge the opportunity to learn about the facts of the case and to indicate how he or she will resolve the case should the facts laid out by both parties be established during trial. In effect, this serves as the court's recommendation regarding the best way issues should be settled. Between 12 to 18 months after the initial hearing, a trial or final hearing is held.

It should be noted that if an agreement is reached between the two parties at any stage involved in both proceedings, orders can be made by consent and approved by the Court or binding financial agreement entered.

Because of the lengthy time frame involved in the resolution of divorce proceedings and other associated issues, Westminster Lawyers often advise their clients to settle matters out of court.

"Our approach is to resolve issues in a dignified, timely and cost-effective manner. But if a dispute can't be easily settled, we will take strong and decisive action in Court proceedings," a representative from the firm stated.

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Tony Salce, Director
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