Are there time limits by which I have to comply with in family law proceedings?

The answer is yes, there a many different time limits imposed by the legislation in respect of various applications and proceedings. Here are some examples:

a. You (as the applicant) must serve your divorce court documents on your spouse not less than 28 days before your divorce hearing; 42 days if your spouse is overseas.

b. You (as the respondent) must file and serve your response documents on your spouse where you are opposing the divorce or contesting jurisdiction not less than 28 days before the divorce hearing; 42 days if you were served overseas.

c. You have 12 months from the date of your divorce order to make an application to the court seeking property orders; 24 months from the date of separation in de facto relationship matters.

d. You have 28 days from the publication of ‘Statement of Reasons’ from the Social Security Appeals Tribunal to file an appeal in court, on a question of law, in regards to a child support decision.

e. You have 7 days prior to your first court event in parenting or property matters to file and serve your response and any necessary affidavit with it in proceedings commenced by your spouse.

f. You have 7 days to amend your application for parenting and/or property orders after such order permitting you to do so is made.

g. You have a maximum of 28 days before your first day before a judge to file the mandatory notice as to full and frank disclosure.

h. You have 14 days to file an application for review after you receive a registrar’s reasons in a costs assessment hearing for a disputed itemised costs account.

i. You have 28 days to file a Notice of Appeal after the date of the order you are appealing.

j. You have 21 days to ask written questions of an appointed single expert (such as a property or business valuer) to clarify their report after you receive it; 7 days if you have had a conference with the expert within 21 days of your receipt of their report.

k. You have 7 days before a hearing, or 28 days before a trial, to issue a ‘Notice to Produce’ on another party in the proceedings for them to produce documents at court.

l. You and your spouse have 30 days from the date of a successful divorce hearing to apply to rescind the order made that day, before it becomes absolute and dissolves your marriage.

Having said that, there is a provision in the legislation that allows you to apply to the court to shorten or extend a time abovementioned. However, there is no guarantee the court will grant you leave (permission) to do so and, as such, adhering to the time limits above is the rule, not the exception.

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