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What are pre-action procedures?

Thursday 19th of January 2023
By: Tom Cameron, Solicitor, Coote Family Lawyers

I am ever so grateful for you holding my hand along the way.

I've been told I need to complete certain 'pre-action procedures' before I can make an Application in the Family Court.  What are they?

Under the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021, parties must complete certain steps, or “pre-action procedures”, before they can make an Application for a property division, spousal maintenance or parenting arrangements in the Family Court.

There are a number of pre-action procedures, and the procedures that must be followed differ for parenting and financial matters.

Applications for parenting arrangements

If you are unable to reach agreement directly with your former partner about the parenting arrangements for your children, you are not able to make an application at Court in relation to those arrangements until you have completed Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), which is similar to a mediation.   

If FDR is unsuccessful in resolving your disagreement about the best arrangements for your children, the FDR practitioner will provide you with a section 60I certificate.  That Certificate must be filed with the Court together with your Application, to demonstrate that you and your former partner have attempted to resolve your disagreement.

Application for property division or spousal maintenance (financial matters)

The pre-action procedures for financial matters are different. They include exchanging financial documents, inviting your former partner to participate in dispute resolution (either FDR or mediation) and, in the event dispute resolution is unsuccessful, setting out your proposal to resolve your financial matter in detail.

Exceptions

There are, however, some exceptions to the pre-action procedures. You may be exempt from complying with the procedures for several reasons, including if there are allegations of child abuse or family violence or if the application is urgent.

Your compliance or exception will need be recorded in a “Genuine Steps Certificate”, which is filed together with your Application for either parenting arrangements or financial matters.

Navigating the pre-action procedures can be confusing, so if you need advice please contact our team of top family lawyers in Melbourne on 03 9804 0035.  

 

 

 

 




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