Family law proceedings are stressful and complex processes. Here are five factors you should consider before initiating these proceedings.
1. Are you emotionally ready to undergo family law court proceedings?
Family law court procedures, whether they are regarding divorce, children, or property settlement, are extremely stressful. You must be mentally and emotionally prepared to face various obstacles of court procedures. Emotions that may arise include denial, anger, guilt, grief or confusion.
In most cases, parties will attempt to resolve their matters in alternative dispute resolutions where the emotional strain is significantly alleviated.
2. Have you tried Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)?
The most common forms of FDR used as alternatives to family law court proceedings are negotiation and mediation.
Negotiation involves both parties discussing the matters at hand in an attempt to come to a resolution that both parties are happy with. Negotiation can be an in-person meeting or through emails, letters and telephone calls. It is very practical as it avoids the high costs of a protracted court process. Negotiation also allows parties to preserve, and potentially enhance, their relationship through a mutually satisfying resolution.
If negotiation is unsuccessful, you must consider whether it is worthwhile undergoing mediation processes with the other party. Mediation will only be successful if both parties cooperate and want to resolve the issues amicably. Mediation is similar to negotiation; however, the issues are brought before an impartial third party through organisations such as Anglicare and other local mediation services.
If negotiation and mediation are unsuccessful, you will need to obtain a Section 60I Certificate which will enable you to commence legal proceedings.
3. Court proceedings including children
It must be acknowledged that court processes can have significant impacts on children. Research conducted by the Family Court of Australia has shown that seeing parental conflict in a court setting has increased the risk of children having emotional, social, behavioural and academic problems. In these cases, it is best to resolve matters outside of court as it is rarely in the best interests of the child for them to undergo court procedures.
4. How urgent are the legal issues that need to be resolved?
You must consider whether the family law issues urgently need to be resolved. If they are not urgent, it is best to avoid formal court procedures and gradually come to an amicable resolution. If they are urgent, you need to obtain a Section 60I Certificate (as mentioned above) before proceedings can be commenced in the Family Court of Australia.
5. Seeking legal advice
Your final option, if FDR has failed and the legal matters need to be resolved urgently, is to undergo formal family law proceedings. The first step is to obtain legal advice in relation to your situation.
If you are contemplating whether you should initiate family law court proceedings and require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us on (02) 8917 8700.