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01
Sep

How to attend the family court in Australia?

After you are done with legal documents you can attend the family court. Do you know the family court process in Australia? What do you do after getting a date from the court? If you don’t know then don’t worry we are here to help. We have written a basic how-to article about attending a Family Court. 

Where should I file in?

You can file in the Federal Court of Australia for your family law issues. If you have a complex situation then you can file in Family court of Australia. But, at first, you should file in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. If the judge finds that your situation is complex then he will move your case to Family Court. 

How to file the documents in Family Court?

There are two ways of filing the documents:

  1. Online
  2. In-person

Online procedure:

To file your documents online follow the following link, http://www.comcourts.gov.au/ you just have to register on the site. After creating a profile you can easily file your documents. 

Filing the documents in person:

If you want to file the documents physically then bring all original documents with one copy of each, it will apply for both parties. Normally, we need original documents and 2 copies of each, that is we need 3 of the same document for filing. 

You will have to go to the nearest Federal Circuit Court. Usually the registry is on the ground floor. For family court Brisbane it is on the ground floor near elevators. 

You will get a number or a ticket and then you will have to wait for your turn. The staff will check your documents. After checking they will stamp the documents and 2 copies will return to you.

These copies are for you and your partner.   

Where is the court?

The family court Brisbane is in the Commonwealth Law Courts, it is also known as the Harry Gibbs Building. You will find it on the corner of Tank Street and North Quay. You can enter the building from Tank Street. As Tank Street is a one way street you will have to come from North Quay if you are travelling in a car. 

How to get to court?

If you are travelling via train you will get off the train at the Roma Street Street station. Walk towards Roma Street, cross it and walk for another block until you reach Tank Street.

 If you are in a bus stop at George Street bus station which is just around the corner from Tank Street

If you are driving a car, you will  find parking behind the court. Try to reach the court as early as possible because the parking fills quickly. If you get late you can use the Roma Street Train Station Parking. 

What should I bring?

First of all, try not to get late. Reach on time or 15 minutes before the given time. You can bring the following:

  1. Something to drink
  2. A book to read
  3. You should have 2 pens
  4. Court documents 
  5. Also, bring a list of arguments you can make

Remember, that there are no bins in the building so you will have to take with you whatever you bring. 

Where will I go in the court?

Enter the court walk through metal detectors. You are not allowed to take pocket knives, glass bottles, aerosol cans or nail files inside the building.

Use elevators to go to level 1. At level 1 go to the board on your right. There will be a list of judges and room numbers, find your name or your partner’s name. You will find your judge and the floor you will have to go to. After that just wait near the room until the judges arrive. 

How will the court know that I am here?

When you sit outside the courtroom one of the judges’ associates will come to open the door. The associates wear black robes with large trolleys of files. 

When the room is ready the associates call out something like this “All matters appearing before judge Harry Watson in courtroom 7”. This is your time to inform the associate that:

  1. What is your issue?
  2. Your name and whether you are an applicant or respondent
  3. And what you want to do today.

If the other party is there you will be given time to speak on your issue if you want to. While speaking to the court you should remember what you want the court to do for you. It will help the judge to manage your name in the list or hearing. 

Ask your self following questions to know your requirements:

  1. Are all documents filed?
  2. Do you already have an agreement and you want the court to decide according to that?
  3. Is there no agreement and you want the court to make orders?
  4. Do you need more time?

What to do if there is a need for legal advice?

Mackay family lawyers are here to give legal advice. We can guide you well. We can inform you about all of the family court rules. We can also guide you about getting a financial statement in family court. 

Family court rules:

You will enter the court when the associate calls out your name. Before you enter in the court remember tor:

  1. Switch off your phone
  2. Don’t wear sunglasses
  3. Don’t put drink bottles on table
  4. Don’t eat chewing gum
  5. Dress properly
  6. You cannot bring children

When you enter the court, bow your head to the judge. The judge may be in the middle of another matter. If the judge is not there just sit at the bar table.

Before the judge arrives the associate will go out a back door of the court he will knock loudly on a door for three times. If you hear the knock wait for the judge, on his arrival stand up and bow to the judge. The associate will tell you to sit down. 

Whenever the judge addresses you, stand up and represent your opinion it is not wise to speak to a judge from a seated position. 

Remember:

  1. Not to disrespect anyone either judge or other parties
  2. Avoid talking too much
  3. Do not intervene when anyone is speaking
  4. Never swear

Family Court deals with serious issues. If you are unable to show respect and a positive attitude then it may get bad for you. 

How to communicate with your partner’s lawyer?

Before the hearing starts, it is common for other party’s lawyers to come to you and ask for negotiations. He may ask you to resolve the issues by talking. You can solve issues like property, settlement, domestic and violence before entering the court. 

Remember every issue resolved outside the court means one less item to be discussed inside the court. It is good that the big issues are left for the court like child custody. 

When you are talking with other party remember the following points:

  1. Is the proposed order temporary or permanent?
  2. There is no room for emotions in negotiations
  3. Every rule should be the same for both parties, for instance, if one goes through a drug test the other person should also be tested. 
  4. If the order does not suit you, don’t accept it.
  5. In case of children always think about the best interest of children.

Room process inside a family court:

The judge will ask for the appearance of both parties. If both parties are there then the respondent will speak first and then you(applicant) will tell the judge that you are representing yourself. 

The interim hearing:

In this hearing, we don’t need more than 2 hours for complete hearing. The verbal statements are not valid in this procedure. So, you should have all the required documents filed. The process of this hearing is:

  • Reading the documents: The applicant will read the documents. It will simply inform what type of documents are filed to support the case. The same applies for respondents. 
  • Refer the paragraphs: Referencing is a good step. You can direct the court to a particular paragraph of your Affidavit material. You can point out a paragraph on other party’s material to show that it is contradicted. 
  • Arguments: The judge usually starts hearing by asking the applicant to start with the reference material. You will give proof to your arguments and you may also point to evidence not included by your partner. It will raise your chance of winning. 
  • The determination: The time for a decision depends on the judge. It is either given immediately or the judge gives another date to announce the decision. 

Final hearing: 

This procedure can take 1 day, 2 days or longer. It all depends on your issue. You need to prepare for this hearing. All persons involved in the case can be cross-examined. Let’s discuss its procedure:

  1. Starting: All of the documents are read by the parties. 
  2. Providing evidence: After reading, the applicant is the first one to give evidence. He or she will swear the bible and will inform about his/her name and occupation. Then he/she will be asked questions from the respondent or his/her representative. While answering don’t forget the following points:
  • Not to lie
  • Do not argue
  • Focus on the actual question
  • Keep your answer short and simple

Use these points in cross-examining:

  • Not to argue
  • Keep your focus on facts
  • You can point to inconsistencies in other party’s material
  • Wait for their answer
  • Practice more and more
  1. Re-examination: Once the applicant is done the court will ask if you want to re-examine. If the applicant is self-representative then the court may ask to clear points asked in cross-examination. 
  2. Witnesses: This same procedure will apply to all the witnesses. 
  3. Conclusion: Once all the evidence is submitted, the court will give another chance to both parties to give their opinion or to tell some facts about their submissions. The judge will give the decision or it will be delayed on a particular date. 

This was a simple procedure of family court. If you still have some questions then feel free to contact us. We can guide you all about family court acts. You will love our customer service.