Family Court Hearings
When you start Family Law proceedings, you may be required to attend court many times before your matter is set down for trial. You may be required to attend for directions hearings, interim hearings or for argument.
A directions hearing is usually a fairly short hearing which provides an opportunity to ask the court to make orders to direct the progress of your matter. The types of orders that you may be able to obtain at a directions hearing include:
- An adjournment for a short period of time if the parties appear to be close to reaching an agreement;
- Conciliation – so that the parties can attempt to come to an agreement without the necessity of going to trial; and
- Children’s conference – so that parties can agree to a parenting plan which can, in due course, be turned into orders about issues relating to children.
An interim hearing is a mini hearing (approximately 15 to 30 minutes) where parties ask the court to make interim orders which remain in place until are ratified (made final) or set aside at a future hearing. The types of orders that can be made at an interim hearing include:
- Injunctions and restraints on parties including preventing the disposal of assets or preventing one party from approaching the other party in domestic violence parties;
- Who can live in the family home;
- Sale of the family home;
- Children spending time with their parents (particularly if one parent is preventing the other parent from seeing their children);
- Communication between the parents;
- Monitoring the behaviour of a party eg alcohol restriction, drug testing and other risky behaviours; and
- Interim maintenance payments.
These hearings as set down when the parties need more time to make submissions to the Judge in support of the orders they are seeking. It may be that the issues in dispute are complex and require a long explanation or in circumstances where the parties views are so far apart, it may take quite some time for a Judge to understand each parties view before being able to make a decision. These hearing can, in some instances take a few hours.
For more information about what will happen when your matter is set down for hearing including whether or not it is necessary for you to attend, speak to a solicitor at Bambrick Legal for practical no nonsense advice.