Attending a court is nerve-wracking for any one, no matter what type of legal case you’re there for. Whether you’re fighting for custody of your children or simply completing jury service, it can be useful to know the typical processes that a family court follows so you don’t face any unexpected surprises during your visit.
In this article, we’ve shared three of the most common court cases and the typical civil proceedings that happen in court:
If you’re looking to be granted the custody of a child that you share with an ex-partner, you may find yourself in Court to discuss the issue. However, not all child custody cases have to be settled in Court.
In fact, before you get the chance to present the case in Court, you’ll need to prove that both parents attempted to resolve the case mutually. This means that parents will need to discuss the arrangements with a qualified solicitor before applying for a hearing. If an agreement couldn’t be made, you’ll need to provide evidence from your solicitor that supports it.
Once you’ve gotten this evidence, you’ll need to apply for a C100 court form and provide the details of what you’re looking to achieve and why the decision couldn’t be resolved out-of-court.
The only time when you will not need to prove that mediation was unsuccessful happens when there are certain circumstances, such as domestic abuse, in the relationship.
Once you’ve applied for the case, you’ll be invited to a hearing. This is the standard process for child custody and is the part in which you’ll have to discuss and argue your case in Court.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you have the right to appoint a solicitor to speak and fight on your behalf.
Once the hearing has concluded, the judge will make a decision regarding custody of the children that both parents must adhere to.
The court process for divorce is slightly more complicated and has multiple steps that you’ll need to take in order to get the relationship ended legally. If you have been married for a less than a year then you will need to await until a year since marriage lapses before starting divorce proceedings. You can however make plans and preparation by obtaining early advice from a family lawyer who can file your divorce petition a day after a year of your marriage.
The first step in the divorce process is that one spouse issues a petition of the divorce that explains their reason of why they want to be separated. Once this has been received by the Court, they will forward the petition to your spouse. If the spouse agrees to the divorce, an acknowledgement of service will be sent to both spouses and the divorce will begin.
A judge in your local family court will consider the petition and if accepted, the divorce will be listed for decree nisi. This is a document from the Court which will tell you that there’s no reason why a divorce isn’t possible.
Once this has been received, you must wait at least six weeks before applying for an absolute decree; the final document that ends your marriage.
It’s important to remember that divorce disputes are common, but it’s still possible to legally split from your partner if they don’t agree to the divorce. You may need to consult the advice of a solicitor on the best way to progress with this, depending on your personal circumstances and reasons for divorce.
Although a financial settlement forms part of the divorce process, they are handled slightly different in Court.
A financial settlement is started when a spouse fills in Form A. This begins the court process and once received by the Court, a date will be confirmed to both parties to attend the first appointment in about 12-16 weeks’ time.
Once this appointment has been attended, a date for a Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment (FDRA) will be set. This is the meeting where you’ll be able to make offers and proposals regarding how finances can be split and is attended by both parties, their legal representatives or solicitor and a judge. If an agreement can be made here, there is no need to attend court proceedings to go ahead with the financial settlement.
However, if spouses are still disputing their finances, a judge will invite both parties to a final hearing in which a judge will decide the outcome.
As you can see, the civil proceedings for your case vary and depend on which section of family law that you’re looking to escalate.
If you’re looking for a qualified family law solicitor that can explain your rights throughout the court processes along with providing advice on the best route to take and also provide expert advice and representation throughout the court processes themselves. Contact us today or call 0330 053 7117.