I have Family Court Orders. Now What?

Once Family Court Orders have been approved by the Court, parties then have to navigate the implementation of the Orders.

Orders can take many different formats – procedural orders, interim orders or final orders; orders by Consent or Orders made by the Court. There is no substitute for individual legal advice but here are a few general tips for parties who have received Family Court Orders:

It is important that you:

  1. Note the date that the Orders are made – this becomes critical when an Order requires someone to do something within a certain number of days from the date of the Order. within 7 days of the date of this Order Party A to pay Party B $10,000.
  1. Check that the Orders accurately detail and reflect any agreement reached including, for example:
  • time frames for payment of money (in property matters);
  • days for changeover of children (in parenting matters);
  • that the orders include all of the matters raised and / or agreed at Court or with the other party. If that is not the case, then you may need to take certain steps to remedy this.
  1. Comply with all of the Orders. Not just the ones that are in your favour or easy to do. Orders can be detailed in terms of:
  • dates of things to happen ie 14 days from the date of these Orders [which is why noting the date of the Orders is important];
  • arranging valuations of property eg, one party is to prepare a panel of real estate agents to provide to the other party within 7 days of the date of these Orders;
  • disclosure of documentation – providing all documents that you are required to provide (that list of documents to be provided may be included or attached to the orders);
  1. Check if you need to return to Court on a further date and / or if you are waiting to hear from Court or a third party about any further action required eg.
  • a date for a Conciliation Conference;
  • communication from Legal Aid about the appointment of an Independent Children’s Lawyer;
  • attendance at a Family Report Writer.
  1. Do not:
  • assume that you do not need to attend court on the next date just because you and the other party have agreed matters in the interim;
  • discuss the terms of your Orders (or your family law matter in general) with your neighbour, friends and relatives. There are strict rules around discussing court proceedings with third parties. However, if you need to provide a copy of the Orders to the children’s school or the superannuation fund, this should be noted in the Orders;
  • file the Orders away (or delete them from your emails), assuming they are correct and everything is ok and there is nothing you need to do;
  • ignore anything you are required to do in terms of the Orders.

Court Orders are not to be casually glanced at or dismissed without proper consideration. Parties who do not comply with Court Orders can find themselves on the end of a telling off by the Judge and / or worse repercussions which could include costs orders being made against them or having their case dismissed.

Joelene Nel is a family lawyer at McLaughlins Lawyers on the Gold Coast. If you are involved in legal proceedings and have Family Court Orders which you would like to discuss, please contact Joelene at McLaughlins on the Gold Coast on (07) 5591 5099.

 Author: Joelene Nel

Director: Sophie Pearson

Date: 24 April 2018