What to do if you receive a Family Law Court Application
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. I will explain why.
Let’s say that your ex’s lawyer has been instructed to initiate court proceedings and has issued a Family Law Court Application. Once a Court Application is issued by the Court, it means that the Court has already allocated a set date for an interim court hearing or a Case Assessment Conference. The court procedure is set to go ahead on that allocated date whether you like it or not. The longer you avoid being served with the Court Application, the less time you and your lawyer will have to prepare for the court date. Although it may be possible to obtain an adjournment of the first court date, many Judges are reticent to adjourn cases. It also adds delay and creates what may be unnecessary expense for both parties. 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.
Whilst it may be initially devastating for some people to be confronted with a Family Law Court Application, as it confirms the end of a marriage or relationship, it is also the first step towards the resolution of a dispute. 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. At Melbourne Family Lawyers, the resolution of the dispute is our constant focus. We’ll know what to do- and that’s why you should contact us if you are faced with a Family Law Court Application.
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