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My ex-partner isn't following the court orders about our children What can I do?

Going to court what to expect

Both parties must be at court at the time and date written on the documents. Before you leave for court, make sure you have copies of all the documents you need.

What do I take to court?

The applicant:
  • A copy of your application;
  • Your original parenting order;
  • Any affidavits in support of your application;
  • A copy of the Affidavit of Service and/or Acknowledgment of Service;
  • Pen and paper to write down any directions or orders.
The respondent:
  • A copy of the application;
  • A copy of the applicant’s affidavits;
  • Any evidence demonstrating your “reasonable excuse”. This could include medical certificates, hospital records or any receipts;
  • Your affidavit (together with 2 spare copies);
  • Pen and paper to write down any directions or orders.

The Court will have lists of where the cases for that day are to be heard. Ask court staff if you are confused about where to go. Court officers will call matters into court. If you are representing yourself you should let the court officer in your courtroom know you are there as soon as you can. If you have concerns for your safety, let security know as you enter the building.

Whether you are the applicant or respondent you should:

  • be prepared to answer any questions asked by the Judicial Officer or Judge; and
  • have a summary of your case prepared to help you answer any questions – a chronology or timetable of events can be useful.

When your matter is called into court, remember:

  • the applicant will sit on the left hand side of the bar table; the respondent will sit on the right hand side;
  • be calm and polite; focus your attention on the facts and do not make insulting, or derogatory comments about the other parent; and
  • always stand when spoken to by the Judge. You normally address the Judge as “Your Honour” however you can check this with the court officer.

What happens on the first day?

You should be ready for your application to proceed on the first court date. However, the Court may not hear the application on this day. If this happens, the Court will make an order for an adjournment of the matter to another date. Either party may ask the Court that the matter be listed with priority on the next occasion. If the matter is to continue onto another day, the Court may give hearing dates, give directions about the process to be followed and give directions about what has to be done before the next court date.

If the matter is adjourned, the applicant may ask the Court that the respondent give an undertaking (a promise to the Court) to comply with the orders on the next scheduled occasion. It is up to the Court whether to do this.

The respondent may ask that the Court suspend the orders which the applicant alleges are being breached. If this happens, the applicant will need to address the Court as to why the orders being breached should stay in place.

If the respondent fails to attend, the applicant may ask the Court to issue a warrant for their arrest to appear on the next court date. The applicant must be able to demonstrate that the documents have been served by handing the Court their “Affidavit of Service” document. If the applicant is unable to demonstrate service of the documents on the respondent, the Court will make further directions relating to service.