Family Law Legal Terms And Terminology

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Address for service – the address given by a party where court documents can be served on them by hand, post or certain circumstances, by fax or email.

Adjourn – defer or postpone a court event to another day.

Affidavit – a written statement by a party or witness. It is the main way of presenting the facts of a case to the Court. An affidavit must be sworn or affirmed before a person who is authorised to witness affidavits; for example, a lawyer or Justice of the Peace.

Applicant – the person who applies to the Court for orders.

Court hearing – the date and time when a case is scheduled to come before the Court.

Divorce order – an order made by the Court that ends a marriage. The divorce order becomes final one month and one day after it is made, unless it is shortened by order of the Court. A copy of the divorce order will be made available to you, either by post or through the Commonwealth Courts Portal (if you are a registered user) after the order has become final.

eFiling – the procedure of electronically lodging a document through the Commonwealth Courts Portal

Family Law Act 1975 – the law in Australia which covers family law matters.

Registry – a public area at the Family Court where people can obtain information about the court process and where parties file documents in relation to their case.

Family violence – conduct (whether actual or threatened) by a person towards a family member, or property of a family member, that causes reasonable fear (or reasonable apprehension) for his/her personal wellbeing or safety.

Family violence order – an order made under Commonwealth, state or territory legislation to protect a person, including a child, from violence.

Filing – the procedure of lodging a document at the registry.

Judicial officer – a person who has been appointed to hear and decide cases; for instance, a judge or magistrate.

Party or parties – a person or people involved in a court case; for example, the applicant and/or respondent.

Registrar – a court lawyer who has been delegated power to perform certain tasks; for example, grant divorces, sign consent orders and decide the next step in a case.

Respondent – a person named as a party to a case. A respondent may or may not respond to the orders sought by the applicant.

Rules – a set of directions that outlines court procedures and guidelines.

Sealed copy – a copy of a document which has the original court seal stamped on it.

Service – the process of delivering or posting court documents to a party after they have been filed, in accordance with the rules of court. Service ensures that all parties have received the documents filed with the Court.

Spouse – husband or wife.

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