Before commencing proceedings in any matter, parties are required to undertake several steps. These are known as “Pre-Action Procedures”.
The Family Law Rules (Cth) 2004 provides that parties are required to make a genuine effort to resolve a dispute. This is to help parties resolve their differences quickly and fairly, without the need to litigate. The Court expects parties to be sensible and approach issues respectfully. Parties are expected to have complied with these actions prior to commencing litigation.
This involves things like:
- Providing disclosure;
- Allow the parties to clearly identify the issues that need to be resolved; and
- Encourage parties to seek Orders that are reasonably achievable, based on the evidence.
Parties must not use these procedures to harass the other party or cause delay or unnecessary cost or raise irrelevant issues in correspondence. The Court will consider non-compliance when making Orders for case management of the matter in the future.
Parties have an obligation to provide “full and frank” disclosure in relation to all matters. In property settlements, this includes providing evidence of all sources of earnings, interest, income, property and other financial resources. Parties are also required to provide evidence about any property that has been disposed of or sold since separation.
In parenting matters, discovery will be specific to each case. This might include school reports, medical reports about a child or a parent and can be as simple as drawings by the child or photos of the child.
If you need assistance with your family law matter, please contact us.