Sometimes, the first you know about your spouse or ex-partner taking Family Law Court action against you is when a process server knocks on your door to serve you with a Court Application.
Whilst a natural reaction for you may be to avoid being served with the court document, this may end up being to your disadvantage.
Family Law Court Application Common Scenario
- Receipt of Court Application: Once your ex’s lawyer initiates court proceedings and issues a Family Law Court Application, you’ll receive it.
- Court Allocated Date: The Court will have already assigned a specific date for an interim court hearing or a Case Assessment Conference as soon as they issue the Application.
- Mandatory Court Procedure: The court procedure is scheduled to proceed on the allocated date, regardless of your preferences.
Strategies After Receiving Family Law Court Application
When faced with a Family Law Court Application, individuals may initially find it distressing as it signifies the termination of a marriage or relationship. However, it is crucial to recognize that it also marks the beginning of the dispute resolution process. Here are the necessary steps to take if served with a family law court application.
Serve Court Application Quickly
The longer you avoid being served with the Court Application, the less time you and your divorce lawyer will have to prepare for the court date.
At Melbourne Family Lawyers, if we are already acting on behalf of a client, our lawyers would usually accept service of the court documents on the client’s behalf. This results in the family Lawyer and the client receiving the Court Application without delay, thus enabling us to provide advice at an early stage and obtain the necessary instructions from the client in defence of the Court Application.
Bear in mind that the more notice your lawyer has of the pending court date, the more time he/she has to prepare for the court hearing; also, the greater the likelihood that he/she will be able to fit your case in to a busy lawyer’s court schedule. The client also gets the advantage of receiving early legal advice as to what to expect, rather than having to endure days of anxiety not knowing.
If both the Applicant’s Lawyer and the Respondent’s Lawyer are fully appraised of the relevant facts, it may even be possible to negotiate an out of court settlement on the first court hearing date.
Consider an Adjournment
While it may be possible to request an adjournment of the first court date, judges are often hesitant to grant them. Keep in mind that obtaining an adjournment can lead to delays and unnecessary expenses for both parties, and it may not be easily granted by the court.
How We Can Assist
Our top priority at Melbourne Family Lawyers is finding a resolution for your dispute. If you’re dealing with a Family Law Court Application, you can trust us to know the appropriate steps to take. Contact us for assistance.
The founder of the firm, Silvio is a Family Law Specialist Accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria, Accredited FindLaw Feature Writer in Family Law and is a Founding Member of the Collaborative Law Committee of the Law Institute of Victoria.