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Court Processes For Parenting Matters

We understand that while our lawyers are very confident representing our clients in Court proceedings as we are dealing with such matters daily, for many clients the Court process can be scary, overwhelming, and daunting.

In recent times, we have experienced more and more Court appearances by telephone and through online platforms, which can make the process even more confusing.

We recognise that for most of us, there is nothing more precious or close to our heart than our children. As parents and being part of blended families ourselves, we understand the complexities involved in blended families and the importance of trying wherever possible to foster and strengthen the co-parenting relationship which can be very difficult where parenting Court proceedings have been commenced.

If you and the other parent and/or any third parties cannot reach an agreement about parenting arrangements for the children, you may need to file an Application to commence Family Law parenting proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or Family Court of Australia.

To file an Application, Courts require all parties to obtain a Certificate under Section 60I of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) to show that parties have attempted to participate in mediation. In some circumstances however, you may be exempt from obtaining a Section 60I Certificate including cases of urgency, risk of harm or family violence.

When filing an Application for parenting matters with the Court, all parties need to file at least three documents. These are:

  1. Initiating Application.
  2. Affidavit
  3. Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk.

If you do not obtain a Section 60I Certificate, you will need to file an Affidavit for Non-filing of Family Dispute Resolution Certificate, setting out the reasons why you have not obtained this Certificate.

Once all the documents are filed, a Court date is allocated depending upon the urgency of your matter.

The first Court appearance is called the first return date. Your solicitor represents you at the appearance. At this appearance, the Judge or Registrar will decide the best pathway for your matter.

There are several different ways in which your Family Law parenting matter may progress including but not limited to:

  • The appointment of an Independent Children’s Lawyer to represent the best interests of the children.
  • Meeting with a Family Consultant or Expert who will prepare a Memorandum or Report which includes recommendations to the Court.
  • The parties may be ordered to participate in a mediation with a Family Consultant, Registrar or an external mediator.
  • The Court can also make Orders requiring parties to participate in Family Therapy or Counselling.
  • The matter may be listed for one or more Interim Hearings in relation to more pressing matters.

Most matters resolve during the Court process however, if your matter does not settle, eventually dates for a Final Hearing will be allocated. During the Hearing, the Judge hears all the evidence, including the parties being questioned and makes a judgement based on the evidence presented before them.

There can be very serious implications if you do not follow Court Orders or if a Court makes Orders against you in a Family Law parenting matter. The implications may include your children losing the opportunity to have a relationship with you. Our family lawyers approach these matters with compassion, providing support and guidance through what can otherwise be a very complex and overwhelming process.

Contact our Family Law Team on 02 4220 7100 to arrange a free 30min consultation with one of our experienced Family Law solicitors.

Areas of Expertise



Family Law Property Settlements


Formalising Family Law Settlements

Court Processes For Parenting Matters

Court Processes for Family Law Property Settlement Matters

Alternate Dispute Resolution in Family Law

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