Family Law Courts Christmas filing deadline
With Christmas only a few months away, it is time to start thinking about parenting arrangements for the Christmas and long summer holiday period. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be a more difficult task for some families. The rules and restrictions in relation to interstate and overseas travel also mean that for some families, the usual arrangements over the long summer holiday period may not be possible.
If you are unable to reach agreement about parenting arrangements for the long summer holiday period and your matter is not already in the Court system, you are required to first participate in Family Dispute Resolution (“FDR”) with your former partner, before making an application to the Court. There can sometimes be a wait to secure an initial appointment to get the FDR process started, particularly close to the Christmas break. Then once you have initiated FDR, the process can take some time as each parent usually has an intake session and then there are one or more joint sessions. It is therefore important to commence the FDR process as soon as possible in advance of the Christmas break, in case you and your former partner are unable to reach agreement and need to make an application to the Court.
The filing deadline for parenting applications for the Christmas and long summer holiday period is 4pm on the second Friday in November each year. This year, that means all applications for parenting orders need to be filed with the Court by 4pm on Friday 13 November 2020, which is now less than one month away.
Except in circumstances of urgency, a parenting application filed with the Court after 13 November 2020 will be allocated a hearing date “without priority”. Unfortunately, this means your matter is not guaranteed to be listed before Christmas, even if it relates to time with your children over Christmas period and long summer holidays.
If you would like to discuss parenting arrangements for your children over the Christmas and long summer holiday period and initiating the FDR process contact one of our family lawyers, our team is here to assist you.