Do I have to be physically present at a Property Settlement Conference?

 

The case assessment conference, sometimes referred to as the procedural hearing, is the first major event you will attend in the Family Court if you’re seeking property orders.

 

As a rule, it’s facilitated by a registrar with both you and your former partner, and your lawyers if you wish, present and negotiating directly with each other. However, if you have any issues with family violence or negotiating directly with your spouse, it can be arranged for the registrar to deal with each of you separately.

Your aim is to try to reach an agreement without having to descend any further through the court process. Before attending a case assessment hearing, you should familiarise yourself fully with all of your documentation and the offers that have been exchanged between the two of you. Identify the areas where there is agreement. Also, identify the areas where you don’t agree and clearly write notes for yourself as to the barriers that are currently stopping you from agreeing to those points. 

It is advisable to have sought legal opinion before attending. Establish what your bottom line is before you enter the conference.  Identify where you’re prepared to concede and which issues are not negotiable for you.

In most cases, it’s necessary for you to attend the conference in person. In special circumstances, you may be able to apply to the Court for permission not to attend. The Court must receive your application at least seven days prior to the conference date.

 

Video or telephone attendance

The courts have a video system, linking with a network of courts, government agencies and private video link suppliers across Australia.  Overseas video links can also be arranged.  However, there may be some situations when a telephone link, which is easier to arrange and much cheaper, is adequate for the Court’s purposes. You can phone the court to ask which would be most appropriate in your case.

In relation to video links, in most cases, the person benefiting from the savings gained by using a video link will pay the costs incurred at both ends of the video link.  However, there may be circumstances where the Court orders the costs of the video link to be borne equally by the parties.  There are no costs payable to the Court for telephone links, except for overseas telephone links, which will incur the costs the Telstra charge for the call.

Your application will need to set out the reasons you can't attend and you will need to complete the booking form which accompanies the application form.

 

You will find this application forms to request attendance by electronic means at the following links:

Family Court of Australia - Request to attend by electronic communication

Federal Circuit Court - Telephone/Video link attendance request

Family Court of WA - Non-Prescribed Forms

 

Published by: Divorce Resource

 

 

 

 

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