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What to expect on your first court date

By December 5, 2016December 7th, 2016No Comments

By Angela Li

Going to court can be a daunting experience. The purpose of this blog is to explain what typically happens at a “first return date” (the first court date of a particular matter), to help you prepare for it.

In the Federal Circuit Court (which is where most family law matters are filed), the court will usually allocate your matter in a duty list. This means your case will be one of 20 or so cases that the judge has to deal with that morning, so it’s unlikely that the judge will be able to allocate a lot of time to make any substantive decisions.

You should come to court prepared with:

  • Any urgent substantive issues in dispute that need to be resolved that day (e.g., any interim arrangements for the care of children).
  • Your proposal of what needs to happen next procedurally to progress the case (e.g. a conciliation conference, or perhaps a family report).

You should always try to get in touch with the other party before the first court date to try and reach agreement on as many issues as you can, and narrow the issues in dispute.

If there are any urgent issues in dispute, you should be prepared that the court may or may not have time to hear any interim arguments that very day. You may need to seek directions for an interim hearing to be listed at a later date, and for the filing of any additional material.

Do you need assistance with a family law matter? Please contact Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.


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