Before initiating Court proceedings in the Family and Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the parties should comply with all pre-action procedures unless they are exempt.
Pre-action procedures have the objective to encourage the exchange of full and frank disclosure between the parties, before any Court application. The aim is to help the parties resolve their differences quickly and fairly, avoiding Court proceedings where possible.
Unless any of the exemptions outlined below apply, we strongly encourage the parties to participate in pre-action procedures early in their matter. In most cases, the family law matter can be resolved by alternative dispute resolution without the intervention of the courts.
Keeping your matter out of the Court system is beneficial to all parties. It’s a faster process, less stressful (for former partners, parents and children) and is much more cost-effective.
If the matter cannot be resolved by pre-action procedures, there is often still the benefit of narrowing the issues in dispute.
In parenting matters, before commencing Court proceedings, unless exempt (see below), parties must follow the following steps:
Attend a Family Dispute Resolution Mediation.
If your matter is not resolved at the mediation, then the party applying to Court must give the other party written notice of the intention to commence court proceedings. They must set out the issues in dispute and provide a genuine offer to resolve the claim.
The party receiving the notice of the other party's intention to commence court proceedings should reply in the timeframe requested by the other party stating whether their offer is accepted or rejected.
If no agreement is reached, Court proceedings can be started.
In property matters, before commencing Court proceedings, unless exempt (see below), parties must follow the following steps:
Comply with your duty of full and frank disclosure.
Participate in dispute resolution.
If dispute resolution is unsuccessful, then the party applying to Court must give the other party written notice of the intention to commence court proceedings. They must set out the issues in dispute and provide a genuine offer to resolve the claim.
Finalising separation from your partner, in an amicable way, will deliver better results for all involved. However, we understand that sometimes this is not possible. If you’re having difficulty negotiating your property settlement or parenting arrangements, please get in touch with one of our family lawyers, to talk through your options.
You may also like to read:
This article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require further information, advice or assistance for your specific circumstances, please contact E&A Lawyers.
When you meet with our expert lawyers they'll be ready to provide advice.
Our online system allows you to get started anywhere, any time - and provides information that is instant, personalised, and helpful. We can also assemble your complete relationship history online, which will help us reduce costs you book in for an appointment.