It is timely to remind family law practitioners and parties to
family law disputes of the restrictions placed on filing
applications where there is an expectation of a hearing date being
allocated prior to Christmas.
Each year the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court experience
an influx of applications late in the year, many seeking a hearing
in relation to a dispute regarding Christmas holidays and travel
This surge in applications adds to the already congested lists
of both courts, where at present an initiating application or
application in a case has an estimated return date ranging between
six to eight weeks from the date of filing.
In anticipation of the "Christmas rush" of filing
applications, the Family Court of Australia has, pursuant to the
Family Law Rules, implemented a filing cut off for those matters
requiring a hearing prior to the Christmas shut down that commences
on 24 December 2014. Nationally such applications must be filed by
no later than 4.00pm on Friday, 14 November 2014. In 2014 this date
will be extended to 4pm on 17 November 2014 in Brisbane alone, as
the registry will be closed due to the G20 Summit public holiday on
Friday 14 November 2014.
The Federal Circuit Court has no prescribed cut off, however the
anticipated return date of an initiating application or application
in a case is also six to eight weeks from the date of filing.
Applications brought urgently will be assessed by a Registrar on
a case by case basis and listed accordingly. Such urgent matters
might include preventing the removal of children from the
jurisdiction of the court and orders for their recovery; or the
preservation of assets and other injunctive relief in property
It is often overlooked that pursuant to section 65Y of the
Family Law Act, parents in current proceedings must first
obtain the written consent of the other parent or guardian prior to
removing a child from the jurisdiction of the court, even if only
for a brief holiday overseas.
If the consent of the other parent is not forthcoming, the Court
is unlikely to consider an application brought by a parent
intending to travel as urgent if there is no agreement.
Conversely, a parent seeking to prevent the removal of a child
or children from the jurisdiction of the Court, may well have an
application listed on an urgent, often ex parte basis as discussed
For those reasons we urge clients to first obtain the written
consent of the other parent prior to making potentially costly
travel plans. If such consent cannot be obtained, an application
should be filed without delay to have those travel plans endorsed
by the Court by way of orders.
There are several requirements that must be completed by an executor before the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
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