Court Process For Family Disputes

Family law is a complicated component of the law that involve issues such as divorce and settling disputes. Settlements are encouraged outside the court and both parties are legally entitled to seek legal counsel to oversee the process and address complex issues.


Common issues that arise in the event a marriage breaks down include:

  • Fair division of assets
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Child custody
  • Financial agreements 

Legal advice is strongly advised to aid during the negotiation process especially if there are children in the relationship as disputes regarding financial arrangements are likely to arise. Settling outside the court eliminates litigation costs and saves both parties a significant amount of stress.

Both parties can apply for a Consent Order which is legally binding and has the same legal effect as if it had been made by a judicial officer.

Taking Matters to Court

Going to court regarding family issues can be extremely costly but is often necessary when a separated couple is unable to reach a settlement. The family courts can make orders regarding parental responsibilities if children are involved but only after both parents make a genuine attempt to resolve disagreements.

Changes in the family law system make it mandatory for Compulsory Family Dispute Resolution as a way for both parents to reach a solution regarding children without going to court. If matters are taken to court, lawyers for both parties put their opposing cases for judgment.

A decision will then be made to settle the issue, bringing the case to a close. A large majority of family law matters and divorces are now heard in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia which covers:

  • Parenting issues
  • Financial disputes
  • Property division
  • Divorce applications
  • Child support
  • Child maintenance
  • Contravention
  • Injunctions
  • Location and recovery 

The Family Court of Australia covers family law matters in all territories except Western Australia which is the only state with its own family court. Each website has more information regarding procedures with downloadable forms.

The Court Process For Family Matters

Settling disputes through litigation typically involves the following steps:

  • Attempts to settle matters outside of court
  • Compulsory mediation for children’s matters
  • Application filing to the court if no agreement is reached
  • Defending party files a response
  • An initial hearing takes place to guide the conduct of the matter
  • Conference meeting between both parties to settle issues
  • Further hearing to assess if both parties are ready for trial
  • A trial is been held in front of a judge to review the case
  • A decision is made and issued by the court 

This is a general breakdown of the process for family disputes that cannot be resolved outside the court. The entire process can be lengthy and expensive which is why mediation between both parties is generally recommended. If a couple decides to settle family matters outside the court, legal counsel is recommended.

How We Can Help

Kawalsky Lawyers is a boutique legal firm that provides cost effective legal services for matters related to family law. Our family lawyers assist with negotiations and court proceedings for issues including:

  • Divorce
  • Children’s issues
  • Property division
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Financial agreements
  • Parenting Plans
  • Consent Orders
  • Prenuptial agreements 

Our approach is to encourage settlements by using dispute resolution methods for both parties to come to a realistic agreement. If a settlement cannot be reached, we provide strong representation in the family court to keep your interests protected at all times.

We understand that every family issue has different circumstances. Contact us today to speak to one of our family lawyers regarding your situation.

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