Going To Court

Going to family court without a lawyer

If you are unable to come to agreement with your former partner about property, financial or parenting issues after separation, you may find yourself going to court–perhaps as a self-represented litigant.

To start a family court case yourself, you must apply to either the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court. These courts make enforceable ‘orders’ about the issues in dispute.

You can start a case by completing and by filing in court the family court form ‘Initiating Application’ for the orders that you seek, along with a range of other documents. The largest of these is the ‘Affidavit’ in which you provide your evidence. There are important technical rules about making an Affidavit. Once the Initiating Application is filed, you are given a first court date, which is ordinarily within a few weeks.

If an Initiating Application is ‘served’ on you by your former partner, you will have a relatively short period in which to prepare and file a ‘Response’ (to an Initiating Application). In this, you describe what orders you would like the court to make and submit evidence in the form of an Affidavit. You will also need to go to court on the first court date.

Your challenges

  • Deciding to start proceedings in the first place
  • What to do if someone has served court documents on you
  • Preparing, filing and serving documentation
  • Appearing in court
  • Just the whole self-represented litigant experience!

How we can help

Tribe can guide, support and coach you in the experience of being involved in a family court case, and perhaps most importantly, in the preparation of family court forms. We can help you decide what orders to seek and what you should put in your Affidavit. We don’t charge you for the use of form-filling software or templates. Rather, we prepare genuine, bespoke-tailored legal documentation on the basis of your specific instructions. We help you put your best and most professional case forward at the outset, as a self-represented litigant.