Family Law litigation aims to determine how each party conducts itself lawfully after a family separation. This often has to go through the Federal Circuit Court (or Family Court for some more serious and complex cases) due to a breakdown in relationships, or a battle over custody, finances or assets.
Before any party can commence parenting proceedings, they must first attempt Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) with a mediator, unless it is a case involving family violence or child abuse. Sometimes an agreement can be set in place by a lawyer for this, but other times a dispute does not reach a settlement and the matter goes to court. This is where an Interim Order and Final Order comes in.
Likely situations where an Interim Order and Final Order (or just Final Order) is filed include but are not limited to:
- Parenting arrangements
- Property settlements
- Spouse maintenance
- Exclusive occupation of a former matrimonial home
- Child abduction
What are interim orders?
Interim hearings are designed as a way of conducting short-term solutions until the final hearing takes place. Often they are filed for due to urgent matters that need addressing before the court brings the case to a close.
Interim orders (also known as Temporary Orders) are heard usually between 2-3 months after an Initiating Application is filed, and last until the Final Order is made, which is when the case is closed.
What happens in an Interim Order Hearing?
Interim hearings are generally heard in less than two hours unless it is a special circumstance which may last longer.
An Interim Order hearing is not a cross-examination of witnesses, and it does not determine disputes of fact. An interim hearing is instead based on “papers”, which mean that decisions will be based on affidavits, and other papers on file, and will not include any oral argument from either party.
An example of a short-term solution passed in an Interim Hearing is one parent being awarded temporary custody of children until the Final Order determines a final settlement.
What are Final Orders?
Final Orders are what brings the case to a close. The hearing will end with a solution from the judge, based on the dispute between both parties involved.
What happens in a Final Order Hearing?
The length of a Final Hearing will depend on the complexity of the case. If you have a lawyer representing you in Court, they will outline your case, otherwise, you may do this yourself. The respondent or their representative may cross-examine you or your witnesses, and vice versa.
In the Final hearing, the court will consider the evidence and facts of each case and will grant (or not grant) orders as requested. They will take much into consideration before settling on a verdict.
For instance, some examples of situations involving the court include a custody battle or even spousal maintenance when one party cares for children of the relationship. In these cases, the Court will take into consideration many different factors, including but not limited to:
- The age and health of any involved children
- Time spent with any involved children, including each parent’s input in activities and school
- Health and safety of children and parents
- Household income
- Assets and financial resources
- Capacity for employment
- Pension eligibility or government benefits
Once a Final Order is settled by the judge, all parties must comply.
How do I apply for an Interim and Final Order?
You cannot file an application for an Interim Order without filing for a Final Order as well. You can file just a Final Order without having an Interim Order first.
To file an Interim order and/or Final Order you must:
- File an Initiating Application
- File a Financial Statement (if it’s a financial matter)
- File a 60i Certificate (if it’s a parenting matter)
- File affidavit evidence from yourself, witnesses and experts
- Pay the filing fee (this must be paid when applying)
You are able to apply for orders even if the other party has filed an order first. This is called a Response, and once filled out and submitted, will put you in the same position as the other party.
How can Taylor & Scott help?
Though Court staff are able to answer your questions should you have any, they are not able to provide legal advice. A law firm like Taylor and Scott are able to walk you carefully through the process, providing legal advice and a representative in Court to assist you from start to finish.
Documents required vary from case to case and are also dependent on which Court you are filing your application. We can help you compile the correct documents and ensure everything is covered to form a strong case.
A situation that involves going to court often becomes stressful and emotional. Arming yourself with a lawyer specialising in Family Law cases will provide a calm and focused case to the Court to achieve the best outcome for you. Your lawyer will be able to manage your expectations, walk you through the process, and explain what steps to take.
Not only will our team of specialists in Family Law be able to use their experience and expertise to represent you in court, having A Taylor & Scott lawyer by your side during a difficult process will help disburse your stress, allowing you to focus on the wellbeing of you and your family. For legal advice you can count on, contact us on 1800 600 664 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.