Legal Words Used In The Family Court

Address for service -The address given by a party where documents can be served on them by hand, post or some other form of electronic communication.

Adjourn Defer or postpone a court event to another day.

Affidavit - A written statement by a party or witness. It is the main way of presenting the facts of a case to the court. An affidavit must be signed before an authorised person (such as a lawyer or Justice of the Peace) by way of swearing on the Bible or attesting to the truth of the contents of the statement.

Appeal - A procedure which allows a party to challenge the decision made by a court.

Applicant -The person who applies to a court for orders.

Case -When a person makes an application to a court for orders, that becomes the case before the court.

Consent order - An agreement between the parties that is approved by the court and then becomes a court order.

Contravention -When a court finds a party has not complied with (followed) a court order, that party is in contravention of (or has breached) the order.

Court hearing - Tthe date and time when a case is scheduled to come before the court.

Court order – the actions the parties or a party must do to carry out a decision made by a court. An order may be either interim or final.

Divorce order – an order made by a court that ends a marriage.

Enforcement order – an order made by a court to make a party or person comply with (follow) an order.

Ex parte hearing – a hearing where one party is not present and has not been given notice of the application before the court; usually reserved for urgent cases.

Family consultant – a psychologist and/or social worker who specialises in child and family issues that may occur after separation and divorce.

Family dispute resolution – a process whereby a family dispute resolution practitioner assists people to resolve some or all of their disputes with each other following separation and/or divorce.

Family Law Courts – comprise the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Family Law Act 1975– the law in Australia which covers family law matters.

Family law registry – a public area at a Family Law Court where people can obtain information about the court and its processes and where parties file documents in relation to their case.

Family report – a written assessment of a family by a family consultant. A report is prepared to assist a court to make a decision in a case about children.

Family violence – conduct (whether actual or threatened) by a person towards a family member, or property of a family member, that causes reasonable fear (or reasonable apprehension) for his/her personal wellbeing or safety.

Family violence order – an order made under Commonwealth, state or territory legislation to protect a person, including a child, from violence.

Filing – the procedure of lodging a document at a family law registry for placing on the court file.

Final order – an order made by a court to bring a case to a close.

Form – a particular document that must be completed and filed at court. Different forms are used for different family law matters.

Independent children’s lawyer – a lawyer appointed by the court to represent a child’s interests in a case.

Interim order – an order made by a court until another order or a final order is made.

Judgment – a decision by a court after all the evidence is heard.

Judicial officer – a person who has been appointed to hear and decide cases; for instance, a judge or federal magistrate.Jurisdiction – the authority given to a court and its judicial officers to apply the law. For example, the courts have jurisdiction under the Family Law Act 1975 in family law matters.

Parental responsibility – the responsibility of each parent to make decisions about the care, welfare and development of their children. These responsibilities may be varied by agreement or by a court order.

Parenting plan – a written agreement between the parties setting out parenting arrangements for children. It is not approved by or filed with a court.

Party or parties – a person or legal entity, such as a corporation, involved in a court case; for example, the applicant or respondent.

Precedent – a decision made by a judicial officer which may serve as an example for other cases or orders.

Procedural order – an order made by a court of a practical nature. For example, the court may order the parties to attend family dispute resolution.

Registrar – a court lawyer who has been delegated power to perform certain tasks; for example, grant divorces, sign consent orders and decide the next step in a case.

Respondent – a person named as a party to a case. A respondent may or may not respond to the orders sought by the applicant.

Rules – a set of directions that outlines court procedures and guidelines. The rules of the Family Court are the Family Law Rules 2004 and the rules of the Federal Circuit Court are the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001.

Service – the process of sending or giving court documents to a party after they have been filed, in accordance with the rules of court. Service ensures that all parties have received the documents filed with a court.

Subpoena – a document issued by a court, at the request of a party, requiring a person to produce documents and/or give evidence to the court.

Transcript – a record of the spoken evidence in a court case. All court hearings are recorded, except uncontested divorce hearings. The court does not order transcripts in all instances and does not provide transcripts to parties. If a party orders a transcript, they will be responsible for the costs.

This general information is not provided as legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should contact a lawyer before making a decision about what to do or applying to the Court. cannot provide legal advice.Family Law lawyers