Family Law – filing in court


The types of family law orders you can seek

  • • Parenting (including parenting declarations)
  • Parental responsibility
  • • Property orders (for both married or de facto couples)
  • Divorce applications
  • • Matters relating to child support
  • • Contravention of existing orders
  • • Enforcement of existing orders
  • • Setting aside or altering existing orders

Deciding on the correct court to file in

Federal Circuit Court of Australia (previously known as the Federal Magistrates Court)

Generally the Federal Circuit Court deals with less complex family law matters that are more likely to be settled or decided quickly. However, simply because you may not think that your matter is likely to settle quickly this is not an indication that you should instead file in the Family Court of Australia. We recommend you seek legal advice from one of our highly experienced family lawyers before proceeding.

If you are filing a contravention or enforcement application you are to file your application in the Federal Circuit Court. However if this application relates to orders made by the Family Court of Australia made less than 12 months ago, then you are permitted to file in the Family Court of Australia.

All divorce or child support applications must be filed in the Federal Circuit Court.

If you decide to file your matter in the Federal Circuit Court you must complete the following forms:

Family Court of Australia

Family Court of Australia

When deciding what court you need to file your family law matter in you must understand that the Family Court resources are reserved for more complex matters.

If you are seeking parenting orders your matter would be considered 'complex' if it involves any of the following:

  • • allegations of serious sexual abuse
  • • allegations of serious family violence
  • • mental health issues
  • • involvement with child welfare agencies
  • • international child abduction; or
  • • special medical procedures.
If you are property orders your matter would be considered 'complex' if it involves any of the following:

  • • if your matter involves multiple parties;
  • • valuation of corporate structures;
  • • if either party has an interest in a trust; or
  • • complicated issues regarding superannuation.
When filing your matter in the Family Court of Australia, regardless as to whether you are seeking final orders only or if you are seeking interim and final orders you must complete and file the same forms as are required for filing in the Federal Circuit Court.

However in the Family Court you are not required to file an affidavit at the time you initially file the matter in the court, although the court will ask you to file an affidavit at some point during your matter, particularly when the matter is approaching an interim or final hearing.

Should your matter already be in the Family Court and you are seeking to apply for interim orders you must file the following:
  • 1. Application in a Case; and
  • 2. Affidavit in support of the interim orders you are seeking.

Consent orders

If you and the other party have agreed to come to a settlement and have decided to file an Application for Consent Orders – this should be filed in the Family Court of Australia along with the signed Terms of Settlement (also known as 'Consent Orders' or 'Minutes of Consent') and an Annexure to Draft Consent Parenting Orders. These are all individual forms that can be found on the court website. Please note that if your matter does not fall within the above categories then you must file in the Federal Circuit Court.