What is a Direction Hearing / Mention?

types of hearing dates family law directions mentions

When you first start navigating the family law system, it can feel like trying to navigate a map in another language. The forms, process, time frames and the terminology can all feel bamboozling!

Let’s make it simple and explain some of the key steps involved in family law processes.

The Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia overseas family law matters. It has two divisions, division 2 is where all applications are made and division 1 hears all referred complex cases and appeals. Proceedings can only be filed in the Court if all pre-action procedures have been adhered to including engaging in dispute resolution.

Main types of court dates in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia

There are four main types of court dates in the FCCFCA and they are;

  1. First Court Event
  2. Direction Hearings or Mentions
  3. Interim Hearings
  4. Final Hearings

First Court Event in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia

The first court event is a procedural hearing conducted by a Judicial Registrar 1-2 months after filing. In this hearing the Judicial Registrar hears from the parties about what steps need to be taken to prepare the matter for the next stages of the Court process and makes orders and directions regarding the same (such as attending dispute resolution, collecting valuations, export reports or disclosure, attendance to an event with a Child Court Expert or attendance to a relevant program). The Judicial Registrar can also make interim financial or parenting orders.

Direction Hearings / Mentions in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia

Direction Hearings or Mentions are brief Court appearances where the Judge, Senior Judicial Registrar or a Judicial Registrar makes orders for the next steps that need to be taken to progress and resolve the matter. For example, dispute resolution, financial valuations, disclosure or family therapy may be ordered.

Sometimes there is more than one Direction Hearing and as these are focused on determining the next steps for progressing the matter, there generally won’t be an opportunity for the actual issues in dispute to be decided or determined.

How long after filing an application will a matter be heard in the Federal Circuit Court?

Usually, the first court date will be held 4- 8weeks after the applicant (the person making the application) has filed their application with the Court. An application can be filed either in person at the Court registry or online. If you file in-person, registry staff will write the date, time and location of your first Court date on your application. If an application is filed electronically, a range of available dates will be indicated and the Applicant will choose one of the available dates.

If you are the respondent to an application in the Federal Circuit Court, when do you find out hearing dates?

If you are the respondent (the person who has not made the application but is responding to an application), you will be notified of the date, time and location of the first Court Date when you are served with the application.

Book a free 20 minute consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers and we can help you make sense of these complex processes in light of your matter today on (07) 3548 5868.