Today prior to commencing court proceedings, parties are required to comply with what is known as “pre-action procedures”. In disputes relating to parenting the parties are required to attempt to mediate any dispute with an authorised “family dispute practitioner”. Parties are not permitted to have their lawyer present if this process is undertaken at one of the Australian Government funded “Family Relationship Centres”. See Mediation
However, parties are permitted to seek legal advice prior to attending the center and can seek legal advice prior to entering into any agreement reached during the process. If the parties are unsuccessful in reaching an agreement, the family dispute practitioner can issue a certificate pursuant to section 60I of the Family Law Act to certify that the parties attempted to resolve their dispute. The parties may then commence legal proceedings.
If a dispute relates to a property the parties are required under the Family Law Act to provide each other with financial disclosure. This ensures that the parties enter into any negotiations with a clear understanding of what the assets and liabilities are of each of the parties and discussions can then be had as to what asset or liability will form part of the parties “property pool”.
Once litigation is commenced, there are lengthy Court delays and a long and emotional road ahead for the parties. The team at Stanfords are experienced in assisting our client’s through this process and explaining each step along the way so that we ease the burden of our client’s who allow us to do the worrying for them. When you engage Stanfords you become part of a team that wants to resolve your legal issue as fast as possible with the least amount of angst for you.