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Self-represented litigants’ kit

 

Self-represented litigants’ kit

A do-it-yourself kit to help you prepare a family law case and represent yourself in court

Content of the Guide

Alternatives to going to court 2
Primary dispute resolution 2
Consent orders 2
Binding financial agreements 2
Pre-action procedures (Family Court only) 3
Primary Dispute Resolution 3
Duty of disclosure 3
Chapter one – Applying to a court 4
Choosing the right court 4
Making an application 4
Responding to an application 5
Court documents 5
Forms 5
Documents to file with an application 5
Where to file (lodge) your application 5
Fees payable 6
Arranging delivery (service) of court documents 6
Chapter two – Children 7
Section 60B 7
Section 68F 7
Child representatives 8
Family and expert reports 8
Applying for parenting orders 9
Interim orders 9
Examples of children’s orders 9
General orders 9
Specific Issue orders 10
Interim orders 10
Chapter three – Property 11
Time limits 11
Interim orders 11
Caveats 11
Steps in a property case 12
Step 1 – Identify and value the property 12
Step 2 – Contributions towards the property 13
Section 79 (4) 13
Step 3 – Apply the law to your case 13
Section 79 (4) (continued) 13
Section 75 (2) 14
Spousal maintenance 15
Section 72 15
Section 80 15
Examples of general property orders (interim and final) 16
Examples of general spousal maintenance orders 17
Examples of interim orders
Chapter four –Preparing for a hearing 18
Work out the issues in dispute 18
Gather evidence in support of your case 18
Sources of relevant evidence 18
What if there is no independent evidence available? 19
What if someone else holds the evidence I need? 19
Some important rules about evidence 19
Hearsay evidence 19
Opinion evidence 19
Character evidence 19
Conduct on other occasions 19
Legally privileged information 20
Keep records 20
What information to keep 20
Further research 20
Chapter five – Affidavits 21
How to prepare an affidavit 21
Important points about affidavits 21
The contents must be factual and within the direct knowledge of the deponent 21
The contents must be truthful 22
The contents must be relevant to the issues in dispute 22
Structure of an affidavit 22
Contents of an affidavit 23
Children’s issues 23
General background information 23
Pre-separation history 24
Separation and current arrangements 24
Facts relied on pursuant to the relevant law 25
Proposed arrangements 25
Property issues 25
People who may receive affidavits* 26
Chapter six – Disclosure and subpoenas 27
Family Court 27
Duty of disclosure 27
Requesting production of a document 27
Federal Magistrates Court 28
Subpoenas 28
Documents and records 28
Tips 28
Serving a subpoena 29
Witnesses 29
Chapter seven – Preparing for final trial 30
Prior to date of trial 30
Opening address 30
Evidence in chief 30
Cross-examination 30
Preparing your cross-examination 30
Illustration of cross-examination 31
Re-examination 31
Closing address 31
Chapter eight – On the day 32
Before you go into court 32
Court layout and procedure 32
Going into court 33
On your way out of court 33
Chapter nine – Once an order is made 34
Changing or varying court orders 34
Challenging a decision 34
Decisions that can be reviewed 34
How do I find out the time limits for review? 34
Decisions that can be appealed 34
Time limits 35
Can the order be enforced while the appeal is pending? 35
Enforcing court orders 35
How do I enforce an order? 35
Enforcing financial orders 35
Who will hear my application to enforce a financial order? 36
Enforcing orders about children 36
Contempt proceedings 36
Where to get help 37
Legal and government resources 37
Courts 37
Contact centres 38
Dispute resolution and other education services 38
Family violence and support services 39
Interpreter services 39
Websites 39
Appendix 1 40
Commonly used forms 40
Appendix 2 41
Family Court Rules 2004 41
Schedule 1 – Pre-action procedures 41
1. General 41
2. Compliance 42
3. Pre-action procedures 43
4. (Financial) Disclosure and exchange of correspondence 44
4. (Parenting) Disclosure and exchange of correspondence 45
5. Expert witnesses 46
6. Lawyers’ obligations 46

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