How Long Does a Family Court Hearing Take

There is no strict time frame that family law proceedings have to stick to, and therefore it is impossible to give an exact answer for how long a hearing will take. Issues heard in the Family Court are known to take quite some time, and sometimes involve delays, however, this does not necessarily mean that your case will last a long time. Divorce is one of the faster proceedings.

Obtaining a divorce order in Australia typically takes about four months from filing the application for divorce. Compared to many other jurisdictions, this is reasonably quick. Applying online and receiving the final divorce order online makes it a little swifter.

Final orders, which bring the matter to a close (as opposed to interim orders), take longer than divorce proceedings. It is not uncommon for the parties involved to have to wait for two years or more after filing their paperwork for the issue to be resolved. The minimum length of time for final orders is about eight months.

Interim orders, on the other hand, as they are designed to be temporary, do not take as long. After preparing and filing the relevant paperwork, interim orders can be heard within two to six weeks. You can apply for interim and final orders at the same time.

Some matters are urgent, and the court makes special arrangements for these. Urgent matters more often involve parenting and keeping children safe but can also be regarding property settlements. These sorts of cases can be heard extremely quickly, even during the night. From 2019, the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court, which also hears cases related to family law, will be merged to form one single court in the hope of reducing delays.

Prior to the merger, the Family Court heard only the most complex cases, such as complicated financial orders and parenting orders involving abuse, violence or other serious issues.