Common Q&A when Navigating the Court Process in Family Law

Facing legal proceedings, especially in family law matters, can be a difficult process. Many questions may arise about the process itself, ranging from logistical concerns to the emotional aspects of confronting a former partner. In this comprehensive guide, we address some common questions and answers to help ease some of your uncertainties.

1. Will I have to attend Court physically, or can l attend by phone?

Parties involved in cases are advised to be present during hearings. Moreover, the Defendants and witnesses are generally required to attend court in person, unless formally excused.

According to Part 15.5 Paragraph 15.16 of Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 (FCFCOA Rule 2021), the attendance by electronic communication, you may request for permission to attend court electronically providing that you have asked the other party whether they agree the use of electronic communication. The request will then be considered by the court whether to grant the request, considering factors according to sub-paragraph (6) of the Rule.

2. What do you wear?

According to the Etiquette and Tips of the FCFCOA website, although there are no legislation or rules about what to wear in court, the Court is a formal place, and you should dress accordingly to demonstrate your respect for the Court system. This includes removing sunglasses, hats, or caps prior to entering the courtroom.

3. What do I have to say to the judge?

When addressing a Judge in open court one should use the title ‘Your Honour.’ For instance, one should say, ‘Yes, your Honour.’ When addressing a Judicial Registrar in court, during a case management conference, or mediation, the appropriate title is ‘Registrar,’ unless advised otherwise. The customary practice upon entering or leaving a courtroom, especially when a Judge or Judicial Registrar is present, involves bowing the head as a sign of respect.

According to the Chapter 13 and 14 of FCFCOA Rules 2021 provides the powers of the judges and the powers delegated to the Judicial Registrar.

4. Do I need a lawyer?

According to Part 3.3 paragraph 3.08(1) of the FCFCOA Rules 2021 – Right to be heard and representation, a person (other than a corporation or authority) who is entitled to be heard in a proceeding may conduct the proceeding on the person’s own behalf or be represented by a lawyer.

Moreover, according to paragraph 3.09, if you are acting as a corporation, you must be represented by a lawyer in court.

A lawyer possesses a comprehensive understanding of the legal system, enabling them to clarify your legal rights, responsibilities, court procedures and how the law pertains to your case. They can explain court outcomes and decisions. Even if you do not engage a lawyer to represent you in court, you should seek legal advice about your case.

5. I don’t know if I can afford going to court. What can I do?

If you cannot afford legal advice, there are free or low-cost organisations that may legally assis他you. Based on the nature of your case and your personal and financial situation, you might be eligible for cost-free legal guidance through Legal Aid in your state or territory. Refer to

6. Will I have to face my former partner?

According to Central Practice Direction – Family Law Case Management (CPD) paragraph 5.5, except when presenting a consent position, the parties, and if they have legal representation, their lawyers, are required to attend all court proceedings either in person or through electronic means as directed by the presiding judicial officer, unless excused by the Court.

Therefore, if you would like to ensure that you will not encounter your former partner, seeking legal representation is an advisable choice.

7. Should I take the kids to Court?

Courts are not appropriate places for children. Children under the age of 18 cannot go into the courtroom. Please make other arrangements for your child’s care when you come to court.

8. What happens if I don’t go to Court?

According to Part 15.19 of the FCFCOA Rules 2021, if you cannot be at court at the time set for a hearing or other court event. The court have the authority to take various actions such as adjourning the event, ordering a halt to proceedings unless certain conditions are met or dismissing applications.

Additionally, the court can issue orders on default, or any other orders, or providing directions and specify consequences for non-compliance with the orders issues that the court deemed just.

9. Do court dates change?

According to paragraph 3.12 of the CPD. If, at any point during the proceedings, the Court believes that a party or their legal representatives have pursued or defended an Application, Response, or Reply without a legal basis and not in good faith or without a reasonable and sincere effort to resolve the disputed issue(s) where possible, the Court has the authority to postpone the Application, Response, and/or Reply to permit a party to submit affidavit evidence.

Facing court can be overwhelming, but being well-prepared and seeking legal advice from Accuro Maxwell will empower you to navigate the process more confidently.

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