Interim Parenting Proceedings

An interim order is an order that the court makes, usually on a temporary basis, before it makes a final order. An interim order is often used to give a party immediate relief or to prevent circumstances from changing drastically before the court has a chance to consider all the evidence and make a final decision.

In a parenting case, a court might issue an interim order to establish where the children will live until it has the opportunity to make a final decision. The court might also preserve the opportunity of both parents to see the children while the case is pending by ordering that the children should not be removed from the country or relocated to a distant city.order to establish where the children will live until it has the opportunity to make a final decision. The court might also preserve the opportunity for both parents to see the children while the case is pending by ordering that the children should not be removed from the country or relocated to a distant city.

The Federal Circuit Court (which hears most family law cases) announced certain procedures that will apply to applications for interim orders in Sydney, Newcastle, and Canberra.

Applying for an interim order

An interim order is to be requested by filing an application supported by an affidavit. The order can be requested in the initial application or in a subsequent application. An application for an interim order cannot be made unless the party has asked (or is also asking) for a final order.

The applicant may file only one affidavit per witness. Affidavits must not exceed ten pages and must be printed in a font no smaller than 10-points. No more than one affidavit per witness (including the party) can be presented. Affidavits must comply with the rules of evidence. A lawyer can help you prepare appropriate affidavits.

Responding to the application

A party who disagrees with the request for an interim order may file a response. That response must be accompanied by the party’s affidavit and by any witness affidavits. The rules governing affidavits described above also apply to affidavits filed by the responding party.

Hearing on interim order

The court will try to hear all requests for interim orders in a single hearing, if possible. The court does not want to engage in a series of interim order hearings. It would prefer to resolve all contested matters in a final hearing that it will schedule as soon as possible.

The court prefers to decide the interim order application based on the affidavits. It will rarely permit cross-examination of witnesses. That makes it essential for a party who opposes a requested interim order to file a response with appropriate affidavits if the party disagrees with facts stated in the other party’s application.

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