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What is the Family Court process in parenting matters?
Adversarial litigation is a lengthy process to which there are many disadvantages. To commence proceedings in the Family Court, one party files an Initiating Application. Prior to filing this application, there may be a requirement for compulsory Family Dispute Resolution to take place (click here for further information). There is also a duty of disclosure imposed on the parties, whereby they must provide copies of relevant documentation to the other party as a part of the pre-action procedures. For financial matters, these are listed on the Family Court website. For parenting matters, these are listed on the Family Court website.
The other party will then file a response to the initiating application, and the Family Court will set an initial hearing date. There are often delays of a number of months before this initial hearing due to the large number of matters that the Family Court deals with.
At the initial hearing, the Family Court will review the issues and make procedural orders, which may include:
These are all matters that are scheduled over a period of time before a trial. If the parties cannot resolve the issues and proceed to a trial, significant legal costs are incurred and it can often be two years from the time of the initial hearing to the trial.
What are the disadvantages of going to the Family Court for Parenting Orders?
Lengthy delays, cost and the adversarial process are massive disadvantages of the litigation process, especially when compared to mediation:
What is Child-Inclusive Mediation (or Child Informed Mediation)?
Child-Inclusive Mediation (sometimes referred to as Child-Informed Mediation) is a practice model where the child (aged five years and older) is included, to a limited extent, in the mediation process, thereby placing particular focus on the best interests of your child, with all discussions and agreements being tailored around this focus.
The Child-Inclusive Mediation process is as follows:
This process is much more empowering to your child than the litigation process, as the child is able to express their views in a safe environment, thereby allowing them, to a limited extent, to be a part of the decision-making process (however, it does not place them in a position where they are required to make a decision, which is an emotionally upsetting position for a child to be in between their parents). This ensures that the focus of the entire mediation remains on the child.
We provide a Child-Inclusive Mediation process as part of our Family Dispute Resolution practice.
What is Child-Focused Practice?
If Child-Inclusive Mediation is not considered suitable for your child, or if they are too young to engage in a session with the Child Consultant, the Child Consultant can provide information about age-appropriate and developmental-appropriate decisions that would be in your child’s best interests. Therefore, the focus remains on the best interests of your child, thereby ensuring that any arrangements that are made at mediation keep that focus at the forefront.
At the end of the day the choice of mediation or litigation is a personal one, but you should always take into account the financial cost of each process, as well as the emotional cost to you and your child.
More Information on Mediation & Family Dispute Resolution
- Family Dispute Resolution
- Parenting Plans
- Financial Agreements
- Child-Inclusive Mediation
- Section 60I Certificates
- Child Support
- Child Support Calculator
- De Facto Relationships & Separation
- Divorce & Mediation
- Grandparents & Mediation for Grandchildren
- Parenting Plan & Draft Consent Orders for Children
- Property Settlement at Mediation
- Mediation & Domestic Violence
- Relocation & Overseas Travel with a Child
- Going to the Family Court versus Mediation
- Family Dispute Resolution & Mediation
- Child Support & Mediation
To start the mediation process, simply click the button below:
Family Dispute Resolution
Family Dispute Resolution or Family Mediation is the process through which parents in conflict can meet, discuss and reach agreement on parenting issues and financial matters, all with the assistance of an objective and neutral third party in a calm and professional environment.
Financial Agreements deal with any property, investments, shares and other assets and liabilities. Mediation is the quickest and most cost-effective process for reaching settlement. Our mediators provide written financial agreements to both parties at the end of the mediation.
A trained child consultant spends time with each child and uses therapeutic tools and strategies to determine how they are coping and what may need to change. The child consultant then provides feedback to the parents during the mediation.
Section 60I Certificates
Section 60I certificates are required before an application for Parenting Orders can be made to the Family Court. Our mediators are approved by the Department of the Federal Attorney-General to provide section 60I certificates.
Child Support Agreements deal with how parents financially support their children, including day-to-day costs of living, school fees, uniforms and books, tuition costs, general medical and health care costs, and specific healthcare costs (such as speech therapy).
DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this website is for general guidance only. No person should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information. Professional legal advice should be sought based upon your particular circumstances, because laws and regulations undergo frequent changes.