Defending a Family Law Property Settlement Case in Melbourne Family Law Courts

14 October 2013

If you receive an Initiating Application which is to be heard in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, you are entitled to put your position to the Court by filing a Response together with other court documents required under the Family Law Rules.  Those other documents may include sworn Affidavits and/or a Financial Statement (for property settlement or maintenance cases).

The Initiating Application sets out the basic information in a case and, also, lists the Court Orders sought by the Applicant.  If the Respondent opposes the Court Orders sought (which is often the case), he/she must file a Response with the Family Law Courts Registry in Melbourne.  The Response document will specify the Court Orders which the Respondent wants the Court to make.

In the Family Court of Australia at Melbourne, the first court event is usually a Case Assessment Conference.  At the Case Assessment Conference, a Court Registrar will assist the parties and their respective lawyers in identifying the areas of dispute and, if agreement is reached on any specific issue, orders can be made by consent in that regard.  Any remaining issues in dispute will be referred on to the next stage of the Court Process- this could be a Conciliation Conference or an interim hearing before a Judge or Senior Registrar.

In the Federal Circuit Court of Australia at Melbourne, the first time an Initiating Application is listed at the Court, it will be considered by a Federal Circuit Court Judge.  If any urgent interim orders are sought, and if time permits, the Judge may consider those urgent interim issues and make a decision in that regard.  However, often there is insufficient court time available and the case will need to be adjourned to another date.  In the Federal Circuit Court at Melbourne, it is usual for the same Judge to hear a case until conclusion, even if it requires a number of court hearings.  A Judge may refer the case to a Private Mediator for mediation or order “in-house” mediation with a Family Law Registrar.

If you receive an Initiating Application listed in the Melbourne Family Law Courts, it is important to contact a Family Lawyer in Melbourne to arrange legal representation as soon as possible to allow your lawyer sufficient time to prepare your case.

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