What to do if you have been served with a Family Law Court Application

What to do if you have been served with a Family Law Court Application

What to do when you receive a Family Court Application

Sometimes, the first you know about your spouse filing a family law application against you is when a process server knocks on your door to serve you with the 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.

Once a Court Application is issued by the Court, it means that the Court has already allocated a set date for you and your spouse to attend Court. The first court date is often a procedural hearing for the judge to set the plan for the future progress of the case. Sometimes however, if matters are urgent, an interim hearing may be listed on that first court date.  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 reluctant to adjourn cases.  It also adds delay and creates what may be unnecessary expense for both parties.  If we were 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 they have to prepare for the court hearing or alternatively see whether the matter can be resolved prior to the court hearing. You as a client will also gain 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 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 parties’ lawyers 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.   

If you have been served with a Court Application, please contact one of our experienced Family Law Lawyers today on 8525 2700 or click here to request an appointment.

Article written by Nikita Ward
Photo by Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash

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