The Family Law Act provides a process for the resolution of controversies about the time children will spend with parents and also other important people in their lives.
Alterations to the Family Law Act in July 2006 introduced the concept of family dispute resolution. Parties are required to attend mediation with a registered family dispute resolution practitioner before filing an application in Court, except in some circumstances.
At the end of the family dispute resolution process, this specialist will issue what is known a Section 60I Certificate. If you haven't been able to reach an agreement with the other parties, you can use that Certificate as a “permit” to start proceedings.
To go to Court, you will need to prepare court documents. An “Initiating Application” is a document in which you tell the Court what Orders you would like to have them make. An “affidavit” is a document for which you tell the Court your story and why you would like them to make the Orders you seek. You may have to file affidavits from other witnesses.
Within the court process, you need to attend Court. You may also need to participate in the meetings with a Family Consultant (previously referred to as a Family Court Counsellor) or other Expert. That Family Consultant or Expert will prepare a Report for the Court to assist the Court in deciding what to do in your matter.
If needed, your matter may go to a Final Hearing. In cases like this, you and any other witnesses you have may be asked to attend Court to answer questions about their evidence.