Everywhere we look Christmas decorations are appearing in shopping centres which serve as a timely reminder that the Christmas holidays are almost upon us. In fact, Christmas is now little less than 2 months away.
In the event that you have not discussed the care arrangements for your children in the upcoming Christmas holidays with your ex partner, now is the time to have these discussions. If you are unable to reach an agreement regarding the upcoming Christmas holidays then you may need to seek Family Court Orders, but it is important that you determine whether you need the intervention of the Family Court as soon as possible as there are processes which must be followed.
Prior to commencing Family Court Proceedings regarding children’s matters, the Family Law Act 1975 requires that the parties attend Family Dispute Resolution (“FDR”) to attempt to resolve these issues. There are exceptions to this requirement however you cannot rely on the fact that your matter will fall under one of these exceptions. Once you either attempt to commence the FDR process and the other party declines to participate or you attend FDR without reaching an agreement, you will be issued a section 60I certificate. When you have been issued a section 60I certificate, you are then able to commence Family Court proceedings.
If you and your ex partner are unable to reach an agreement through FDR or otherwise regarding the upcoming Christmas holidays, you will need to commence Family Court proceedings prior to the cut off date, which this year is at 4:00pm on Friday 10 November 2017.
As the Family Court is busier than your local shopping centre on Christmas Eve, it is vital that you file your application as soon as possible to try to obtain a hearing prior to the Christmas period commencing.
This Christmas season (before you deck the halls and jingle all the way to Christmas Eve without any care arrangements in place for your children) contact our offices to book an appointment to obtain legal advice regarding Family Dispute Resolution and the commencement of Family Court proceedings.
Published in the Albany Advertiser on 2 November 2017.