Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

Well, there was. And it’s still there – just in a different format.

On 1 September 2021, the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia merged to become a single Court – the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the FCFCOA).

Prior to the merger, most family law matters were heard in the Federal Circuit Court. The Federal Circuit Court is now Division 2 of the FCFCOA. And the Family Court continues as Division 1.

All matters enter the FCFCOA at Division 2 and may be transferred to Division 1 if they are more
complex, for example.

There’s also a third option – which is filing in your “local Court”. In Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, the ACT and Tasmania this is the Magistrates’ Court, the Local Court of New South Wales and the District Court in the Northern Territory. This is not always possible for a variety of reasons but has some benefits where applicable. We can discuss these options with you.

Yes – there are both rules and legislation.

Your starting point is the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), which you can access here: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/cth/consol_act/fla1975114/

There are also rules in relation to how the Court runs Family Law matters.  You can read the Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth) here: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/cth/consol_reg/flr2004163/

We understand that the Act and the Rules may not be the easiest documents to read if you aren’t familiar with the language and structure of legislation.  We can help make this process easier for you, and answer any questions you may have.

Monthly Subscription FAQs

(a) the value once spread across the subscription term is very high – the traditional billing method means that you could reach our $600 monthly fee within one letter or telephone call;

(b) you are able to budget your legal fees with better predictability while saving money;

(c) you can be proactive about seeking legal assistance as you know it won’t cost you anything extra to ask for advice or for us to write to your ex-partner as issues arise; and

(d) we are able to focus on you and resolving your matter how best suits you and your family rather than focusing on the clock.

Clients on our subscription plan may use our services a lot one month, and possibly not at all the next month. 

If they were using a traditional law firm, this would mean highly variable, unpredictable and sometimes shocking, legal bills each month.

With our subscription service, we can not only offer our clients unlimited, on demand support but the security and certainty of a fixed fee.

There is no minimum or maximum commitment.  As a guide, we find that most matters that settle quickly go negotiations to finalising documents within approximately 6 months.  In comparison, the Court aims to resolve litigious matters within 12 months of documents being filed.

That’s not an issue.  Simply send us an email and we can turn off the Direct Debit for the following month.

No, Court attendance forms part of our “Step Three: Add” service.  But you will know beforehand how much the attendance will be – or how much the barrister you have asked us to brief will charge you.

All correspondence (including emails and letters) between us, and emails between us and your ex-partner (or their lawyer). 

It doesn’t include what we call “substantive documents” such as Parenting Plans, Consent Orders or Court documents.  Essentially, if it is listed here (link) as an addition, it’s not included in your subscription.

Not at all.  But our values include encouraging boundaries for ourselves and our clients. 

Via telephone, email or Zoom.  We will provide you with your own link you can use to book a time with us via Zoom or telephone whenever you need us.

We work flexibly but usually during the standard working week.  We do, however, offer initial appointments that are after hours and on weekends.  We find that after that first appointment, a lot more of our contact can be through email and telephone.

We are only able to contact your ex-partner directly if they don’t have a lawyer.  If they do have a lawyer, we are required to contact their lawyer instead.  When we do contact your ex-partner directly it will usually be via email or letter so that both parties have written records.

We aim to respond to our clients within a business day.  We can also prepare Court documents and other substantive documents very quickly – often within a matter of days.

No.  Although we love seeing our client’s faces over Zoom, not meeting in person is how we keep our overheads low so that we are able to offer our low-price subscription service and fixed fees.

Our lawyers are hands on with their clients.  While some enquiries may be dealt with by a paralegal or legal assistant, our lawyers will be involved at each step of the way.

Yes.  Unless you are one of our clients who are self-represented and we are only preparing their documents, the subscription package covers the work beyond the service or documents – such as getting your instructions or contacting the Court or other side.

Yes.  We offer the opportunity to pause your subscription for one month during the total period we act for you.   The subscription will recommence if we are contacted during this period by you or the other party.  We do not offer subscription pauses during Court proceedings as we have an obligation to the Court.

Billing

We bill your subscription monthly on the same date each month.

We bill any additional services or documents in stages – usually, 75% at completion of the first draft (where applicable) and the balance upon completion of the stage.  The stages are set out in the Costs Agreement we will have with you.

We will ask you to sign a Direct Debit mandate for your subscription payments.  The mandate will allow us to direct debit your account or credit card and the payment for that month will be held in our trust account before our invoice is issued at the end of the month.

For additional services or documents we accept payment by Visa, Mastercard and direct deposit.  Those funds are held in out trust account before our invoice is issued at the end of the month.

Yes, your financial security is important to us.

All payments are processed by either Stripe or GoCardless, both industry leaders in payment processing.

All payments are made into our Trust Account which is heavily regulated.

Yes.  We are registered for GST in Australia.  Our fee structure includes GST in the total price.

Terminology

what does that word mean and what else should I know?

Sometimes it feels like lawyers and judges are speaking another language and an interpreter would be useful. We’re happy to help.

You must provide an address for service so that the Court and the other parties can be sure that you receive any documents that they send to you.  An address for service can be by hand, by post or via email.

A hearing is adjourned when it is relisted or postponed to another date.

This is a party or a witness’ written version of events and is the main way that facts are presented to the Court.  An Affidavit is sworn evidence and must be signed by an authorised witness by either swearing on the bible or attesting to the truth of the contents of the document.

This is an application and process where one party applies to the Court asking for a decision to be reviewed.

This is the person who first applies to the Court for Orders.

if the parties can reach an agreement and that agreement is approved by the Court, the terms of that agreement are called Consent Orders.

A contravention occurs when the Court finds that a party has breached a Court Order.

This is an Application made by one party to have the Court make a finding that Court Orders have been breached by another party.

The date and time when a case is listed to be heard by the Court.

Usually an urgent hearing where one party is not present and has not been given notice of the application before the Court.

A mediation process with the assistance of a qualified mediator.

A written report in relation to a parenting matter for the assistance of the Court.  The report is prepared by either a Court Child Expert or a Family Consultant.

A psychologist or social worker who specialises in parenting matters and assists the Court by preparing Family Reports.

A psychologist or social worker who specialises in parenting matters and assists the Court by preparing Family Reports

An order made by a State or Territory Court to protect a person from family violence.  They have different names in different state:

  • in Victoria and South Australia they are known as Intervention Orders (IVO);
  • in New South Wales they are known as Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO);
  • in Tasmania they are known as Family Violence and Restraint Orders (restraining orders);
  • in the ACT they are known as Family Violence Orders (FVO); and
  • in Queensland and the Northern Territory they are known as Domestic Violence Orders (DVO).

A Family Violence Order can be temporary (an Interim Order) or Final.

The process involved in lodging documents with the Court.

The last Order made by the Court in a matter to bring the case to a close.

A document which must be completed and filed with the Court.  We can help you determine which forms you need, and complete them for you as well.

A lawyer appointed by the Court to represent the best interests of a child or children in a case. 

A temporary Order made by the Court until another or Final Order is made.

A temporary Order made by the Court until another or Final Order is made.

The decision made by a Court after hearing all of the evidence from all of the parties.

The authority the Court and its judicial officers have to apply the law.

A person who has been appointed to hear and decide cases (such as a Judge).

The responsibility (and ability) of a parent or caregiver to make decisions about the welfare, care and development of the children. 

A written agreement signed by both parties setting out the agreed parenting arrangements for the children.  It is not binding nor approved by the Court.

The person who is named as a party to a case by the Applicant.

The process of sending or handing Court documents to another party after they have been filed with the Court, but only if done so in accordance with the Court’s rules.

A document issued by the Court requiring a person or organisation to produce documents or attend to give evidence to the Court.