Starting an application
If mediation fails and you can’t reach a settlement with your former partner outside of court, you will have to start an application in court for the orders you want.
In Australia, there are two courts that hear matters in relation to Family Law.
Family Court of Australia
This is a very specialised court and only deals with the following types of matters:
- it is an application for annulment of marriage, for a declaration of validity of marriage or a divorce, for a special medical procedure or pursuant to the Hague Convention; or
- the issues in the case are of a complex nature requiring the determination of the Family Court of Australia
Federal Circuit Court of Australia
To start your proceedings in court, you will need to complete the following:
Initiating Application – a document where you complete your personal information and write the orders that you want the court to make.
Affidavit – A statement written by you that outlines the facts of the matter and provides detail as to why you are seeking the orders in the Initating Application.
Notice of Risk – This needs to be filed only if you are seeking parenting orders. It is to put the court on notice that there may be a risk to the children involved in the court proceedings.
Financial Statement – If you are going to court for a financial matter, you will need to file this document. You will need to fill in information about your current financial situation.
You must make sure you make a genuine effort to resolve your child custody dispute through counselling or mediation.
All child custody decisions are focused on ensuring the best interests of the child are made.
Generally speaking, it’s often in the child’s best interests to have a loving relationship with both parents, but arranging such relationships can be the main challenge in resolving a child custody dispute.
We encourage parents to go to mediation, however, there are circumstances when a court will take the view that mediation is not required before starting proceedings; this is in a minority of cases and will usually only where there is a history of physical, sexual or psychological abuse or if there is an urgent need for court orders.
The decisions you make now in relation to your child custody arrangement will affect your child’s development and potentially your future relationship with them.
Each decision should be made carefully with the help of professionals who know and understand the consequences of every action.