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What to do after being served?

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Hello all.

The Ex has said she has served me.  Still waiting on the papers.

However, assuming that the papers will eventually make it to me, what should I be doing now?

I'm drafting my affidavit based on my guess about what they will be raising.  Apart from affidavit, what other information can I submit in my response?

Do I have to "counter-file" something with the Courts?  Do I need to serve something on her?

I was considering lodging a contravention of orders against her?  Should I still lodge that and then lodge something separate when her papers turn up?

Whilst i think i understood what to do if i lodged first, the expectation of being served has confused me.


First question is - what is it you're being served for? What's she trying to achieve? I think what you submit in your response will be largely dependant on what is put forward by her. I mean, obviously you will have to respond to her affidavits, but unless you already know exactly what's going on, you're not really going to know the extent of it until you get the paperwork. Then you'll be able to look more closely at what kind of responses you'll need and what supporting documents may be required. Waiting sucks. :P
OK - i get that I don't know exactly what may be coming, but i suspect that there may be allegation of violence and alcohol issues.

If there is a Form 4, (which i suspect may be coming), how do I address any issues raised?

From reading, any application requires final orders and possibly interim orders.  I suspect that any orders request from the other side will attempt to severely restrict my access to the children.  If I am happy with the current orders, but simply want the other side to comply, how do I word that in any "counter application" that I submit?

I know that there was an argument between my current wife and myself (and involving one of the step-children) which the children witnessed.  It was not a pretty argument.  I know that it affected the children.  Whilst I am happy to acknowledge the argument and the possible impact on the children, how should I handle this in the courts?

I suspect that the Ex will have some stance of "the children should never enter his house again", (that is her current stance), how to prove that my home is not some sort of house of horrors?

Apart from that, what is the actual process would also be handy.

Not sure that I follow you Grey.  You can't be served without the other party actually handing the documents to you (in some cases this can be done by mail).  The other party then needs to file an affidavit of service with the court certifying that you have received the documents.  I'm assuming what you mean is that Ex has filed documents in the court registry, but this does not constitue 'service'.  She has to actually hand these documents to you in person, or employ a process server (who is usually a sub-species of private investigator) to do the same.

Don't stress about what may or may not be in a document until you have actually read it.  As far as the process is concerned, it is fairly simple yet can be daunting for the un-initiated.

If Ex has filed documents with the court, she would have to file an 'application for final orders'.  This makes her 'The Applicant'.  In this document she will list what she wants to come out of the court process - assuming the matter makes it to a full trial.  This document also has a section specifiying what the applicant might want in the way of interim orders i.e. orders that Ex might want the court to make for a temporary period.  In kid's matters, interim orders often provide for temporary 'spend time with' orders, and/or injunctions preventing a parent from relocating to some far away place with the children, or changing the children's schools pending the outcome of court proceedings.  Ex will have to attach an affidavit to this document stating the facts that she will rely up when bringing the matter before the court.   Ex takes 3 copies of this document to the court registry.  The clerks there will check it to make sure it conforms with the court's rules and then will seal (or stamp) each copy - one for the court, one for her, and one for you, and a date will be provided for the initial directions hearing.  She will then have to 'serve' these documents on you as detailed above.

Once she has served you - you then become 'the respondent'.  You must file a 'response to an applicaiton for final orders', which is an almost identical document to an 'application for final orders', and typically this should be done within 14 days of service.  Basically, you fill out your response detailing what you seek in both final and interim orders, as she did for her application, and you also need to file an affidavit with this document detailing the facts upon which you will rely.  You must then file these in the court registry.  Take in three copies as the applicant does - one for you, one for the court and one which must then be served on her.  If you file anything in the court registry you must always serve a copy of same on the other side.

From there on in - you simply rock up to court on the specified date for the initial 'directions' hearing.  This usually takes 15 - 30 minutes, depending on the matter.  In this hearing the Magistrate will make orders 'directing' the parties on what to do next.  In the case of property, you might be directed to file documents detailing all your financial affairs, and you may be ordered to attend a conciliation conference to attempt to reach agreement.  In child matters, you may be ordered to attend further mediation sessions with Ex as a last-ditch effort to sort out arrangements for the children.  The magistrate will then adjourn the matter to a later date for another directions hearing, when the parties basically return to the court to report on how the matter(s) are progressing.

The court will do everything it can to ensure the parties make every effort to resolve their differences without the need for it to be heard at trial.  Therefore there might be multiple directions hearings.  If the matter can't be settled, then the court will make orders for the matter to be heard at trial - and that's where things get very expensive and complex.

You can self-represent all the way if you want.  There are a lot of people on this site who have done this effectively and have saved themselves $$$$ in the process - but it takes an incredible amount of self-discipline and control to be able to do this.  I was fortunate enough to find a lawyer who is semi-retired, and only works part-time to fund his hobbies.  This guy's rate was very reasonable with his hourly rate, and he allowed me to do my own affidavits which saved me thousands.

Hope this helps.  But I would honestly seek legal advice prior to lodging any documents with the court.
Don't respond or file anything at the Court until u have seen the documents. You must not. Not unless she cancels your time w the kids, and even then only ask court to enforce your orders, leave her to explain why not. It seems u have been to court and have current orders-go to court and search the file to see if any new stuff has been filed. Sometimes to do that u need to ring the Court or attend a make an appointment to search the file.

 As for the argument u could say that afterwards u realised the impact of seperated parents conducting heated arguments in front of the children is not good and u are highly embarassed as to the conduct of yourself and her.

Be careful w alcohol cause it tends to make people more hyped up when they argue-so get smarter.

Many seperated parents who don't like each other anymore, whom share the children, fail to recognise the benefits of having regular time to talk away from the children. Sometimes only one is willing and it takes two to communicate.

Perhaps, and perhaps, one who anticipates further of same could ask the Court to order that the two parents create eg by phone or other, a small amount of set time away completely from the earshot and view of the children, to be used to share information, concerns,parental strategies or even points of difference, with each other.

Timeliness of response.

Thanks all.

The documents are now in my possession.  They were 'served' to a junior receptionist at my work (who didn't know me) and they went into the work internal-mail system and got sent to the wrong area.

I now have a court date (less than 2 weeks away) - i was up late last night quickly doing my affidavit in response.  It will need to be lengthy unfortunately, so may take a few evenings work to complete and gather my annexures.

Quick questions:

1. It was stated I need to respond within 14 days, yet the delay in receiving the documents means less than 14 days before the court date.  What is the latest I can lodge and serve my response?  If i'm too late in lodging/serving, how do the courts view this?

2. If i miss anything in my rush to get the response done, can I add to my affidavit at a later date?  I have read of doing a 'amended affidavit' (i think it was called that) but how well is that received if I try to raise/lodge that on the day?

3. I understand that at the Interim hearing, generally we will not get to talk and the judge will rely mostly on the details covered in the affidavits.  If it goes to 'full hearing', do I rely on the same affidavit, or can I lodge a 'amended affidavit' at that time?

4. The Applicant's affidavit is supported by another affidavit (from another person), however, the supporting affidavit appears to have been a cut&paste of the other one.  Do I need to raise this, or would I insult the judge by not assuming that he can tell when affidavits have been copied?

5. At interim hearing, what can I ask to happen?  Can I say that the applicant application is totally without grounds but ask that other matters in my response be addressed?

6. If the court orders further mediation, can I say that attempts at mediation have failed and that continued dissent between the parties have forced them in entrenched positions and we request the court make a decision?

7. I understand I need to submit interim and final orders in my response.  Can I write up some Interim orders, but then request that the existing orders be reinstated as the final orders?  (note: current orders have not been put aside by a court, on the ex)

Thanks in advance all


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