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The following legal terms are applicable to the Family Court of Australia, Family Court of Western Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia. A comprehensive guide to Latin legal terms can be found on WikipediA (not all of these Latin terms are used in Australia).

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Abbreviation for a 12A style trial (hearing). Reference material is on the site for 12As


Generic often used as prior to or post 2006 to indicate whether a decision was made before or after 1st July 2006


The main section of the Act that a Court must take into consideration when making a determination in Children's matters

Refers to section 65 of the Act which deals with children's issues

Replaced with 60CC in the Amended Family Law Act


Administrative Appeals Tribunal. A parent can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of certain Registrar decisions regarding Departure Prohibition Orders. The AAT can also review Registrar decisions on FOI applications, on care percentage decisions and SSAT decisions to refuse to grant an extension of time to apply for a review of a decision by the Registrar.

Above Primary Care
More than 86% of care (the other parent will have below regular care(less than 14% care)

Law passed by parliament, known as a 'bill' before assent by governor or governor general. See also 'Statutes'

Law passed by parliament, known as a 'bill' before assent by governor or governor general. See also 'Statutes

The AD(JR) Act allows a parent to apply to the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court for judicial review of most of the Registrar's administrative decisions. The AD(JR) Act applies to all of the Registrar's decisions under the Registration and Collection Act and all Assessment Act decisions except for those made under Part 6A of the Assessment Act (i.e. decisions on a parent's application to change a child support assessment or on a Registrar initiated change of assessment).

Additional Income Earned Post Separation
Parents of a child may apply to have additional income (earned, derived or received after separation and within 3 years of separation) excluded from their adjusted taxable income for the calculation of their child support assessment. The parent must be able to show that the change that resulted in the additional income being earned happened after separation (section 44(1)(d)(i)).

Address for Service
The address given by a party where documents can be served on them by hand, post or some other form of electronic communication.

Address for service
The address given by a party where documents can be served on them by hand, post or some other form of electronic communication.

Defer or postpone a court event to another day.

When a case is put off to a later date.

Administrative Enforcement
The actions that Child Support can take to require payment of child support.

Administrative Law
The rules governing decision making by public officials.

Alternative Dispute Resolution. Any method of resolving disputes other than by litigation. Arbitration and mediation are the two major forms of ADR.

Affidavit of Service
An Affidavit swearing that particular documents were delivered to a party (or their legal representatives)

A written statement of facts by a party or witness made under oath or affirmed before a notary public, justice of the peace, legal practitioner or other authorised officer. It can be used to support an application or can be tendered by a a party to a proceeding as evidence in court. A sworn formal document of facts. Evidence in Chief at hearings. The person writing the affidavit MUST be available for cross examination at a hearing.

The Attorney General of Australia (Federal)

Agency Reimbusrement Liability
The overseas reimbursement of maintenance that has been paid to the payee (from another authority).

An independent person or company with authority to act on behalf of another.

Agreed Facts
Facts not in dispute between the two parties. May relate to Children's and Property issues

Alienation of Income
A reduction of a parent's taxable income by alienation of personal services income or other income will result in an artificially reduced or increased child support liability.

Alignment of Care
Alignment of care between Child Support and Centrelink (from 1 July 2010).

Alternative Dispute resolution
Any method of resolving disputes other than by litigation. Arbitration and mediation are the two major forms of ADR.

The older term for the new term attachments. Things that are attached to an affidavit usually.

Annual Rate (of Child Support)
This is the end result of the calculation of child support. How much a parent will pay or receive over 12 months.

Application to a higher court to alter a decision of a lower court or tribunal, usually because of a mistake in law. A common example would be an appeal from a decision of a single judge, which would go to a bench of three judges (in the Federal Court of Australia). Another example would be an appeal from the Federal Court of Australia to the High Court of Australia.

When ever you go before court, it is known as "appearing" before the court or an appearance. The coming to court as a party, either in person or through counsel.

Person, that starts an appeal in a court. Applicants, appellants, respondents, defendants, etc., are generally called 'parties'.

Appellate courts 
Courts to which an appeal is made.

Person, an organisation who applies to the court to start a legal proceeding against another person or persons. Applicants, appellants, respondents, defendants, etc. are generally called 'parties'.The person making an application (initiating) to start a case (see respondent). Be aware that an Initiating Application is not the same as an application. (See Court Rules)

Application in a case
In a Case, an application made during a case

A document that starts a legal proceeding. Also used as a broad term for what the applicant is doing in the court: he or she is 'making an application'. An application must be served by a third party on the respondent or on the other parties solicitors

Refers to an Apprehended Personal Violence Order issued by a State Court

Arbitration is a formal way of resolving a dispute in which the opposing parties present their case to an independent third person, the arbitrator.

Adusted Taxable income

ATI Indexation Factor
The factor used where a parent has not lodged a tax return for the relevant year of income but has lodged a tax return for a previous year of income. Note this is frequently used when tax returns start rolling in (ie 1st July - 31st October).

Documents attached to an affidavit

Authorised Representative
A person who a customer has authorised to act on their behalf. Child Support is not obliged to recognise the authority of a nominated representative to make enquiries on a customer's behalf, but will usually do so. If Child Support considers that a customer representative is not acting in the best interest of the customer or the department, Child Support will refuse to deal with the representative and request that the customer make more suitable communication arrangements.

Refers to an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order issued by a State Court or by Police


The practicing members of the legal profession.

A lawyer who presents cases in higher courts.

Best Interest of the Child.

Commonly used abbreviation for Best Interests of the Child(ren)

Binding Child Support Agreement
Binding child support agreements allow parents to make binding financial agreements about child support. Binding child support agreements operate in a similar manner to financial agreements that separating parents might make in relation to property, superannuation and spousal maintenance. Each party to a binding child support agreement must have received independent legal advice before entering the agreement, and must also receive independent legal advice before terminating the agreement. This legal advice must be provided by a legal practitioner who has been admitted by the Supreme Court of a State or Territory of Australia and holds a current practicing certificate. Legal advice will not be considered independent in circumstances where: one party (as a qualified legal practitioner) has provided legal advice to the other party to the agreement; one party (as a qualified legal practitioner) has provided legal advice to themselves; or the same legal practitioner has provided legal advice to both parties. A binding child support agreement must: (a) be in writing, and signed by both parents or the parent(s) and eligible non-parent carer; (b) include a statement that each party has received independent legal advice as to the effect and advantages and/or disadvantages of the agreement, before it was signed; and (c) include an annexure, for each of the parties to the agreement, signed by the person who provided the legal advice, which certifies that the advice was provided (section 80C). There is no requirement for an administrative assessment to be in place prior to the making or acceptance of a binding child support agreement. A child support agreement can only be made between the parents of a child or between the parents and any non-parent carer (section 83). Therefore if there is no existing administrative assessment, the Registrar must also be satisfied that the parties to the agreement are parents or eligible non-parent carers before a binding agreement can be accepted. A binding child support agreement cannot be varied (section 80CA). To change a binding child support agreement, the agreement must be terminated and replaced with a new binding child support agreement. For further information on how a binding child support agreement can be changed or terminated

It has been heard a number of parties in the Family Court have been seen acquiring the straw type and using these for transport.


Calderbank letter
A Calderbank letter (Calderbank v Calderbank [1975] 3 All ER 333) leaves costs in the discretion of the court, subject to principles which have been developed in relation to the instrument. An offer of compromise provides a more certain consequence as to costs. The term relates to an offer of settlement expressed to be without prejudice save as to costs. A Calderbank offer may be in writing or oral. However, if oral, evidentiary issues may arise and less weight may be given to the offer in the circumstances of the case

Actual Percentage of care

Carriage Money
Refers to a payment for the costs in producing material for the Court (see Subpoena)

Case at first instance 
The first time the facts of a case are considered not an appeal. Example: First Instance Judgment

Case Chronology
Normally an agreed set of facts between the parties, usually handed up before or during a hearing

Case Conference
Several meanings, can be a conference organised between parties and their legal representatives to try to settle issues before trial, or can be ordered by the Court before a hearing to enable a report to go to the Judicial Officer.

Case law 
The area of law developed by the courts while hearing and determining disputes. Reference to a previous case or cases. During a case it will be critical to rely on other judicial decsisions to prepare your case.

Case Management Directions 
A set of directions about how cases are managed by the Court to help parties achieve a just resolution of their dispute in a way which is prompt and economical.

Case Outline
An outline of the case to be presented to the Court. Often used by Solicitors and Barristers to present the case and is "Talked to" from the Bar table. Can sometimes be prepared by competent Paralegals who specialise in the jusridiction.

The matter before the Court, when a person makes an application to a court for orders, that becomes the case before the court.

The Court's integrated case management system.

Slang abbreviation for Change of Circumstances

Refers to the original Children's Cases program which was the forerunner of 12A style hearing

Combined Child Support Income

Generically refers to a certificate issued by a FRC to confirm mediation/counselling has occurred. In most cases a Court will not start proceedings if a certificate is not available. There are some circumstances you can commence proceedings without one.

Abbreviation for the Chief Federal Magistrate of the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia. Now replaced with Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Change of Circumstaces
A range of circumstances used to justify reopening a case where there are existing orders

Child Dispute Services 
Child Dispute Services are provided by family consultants who are trained in social work or psychology. These services aim to assist parents and carers understand the needs of their children and to assist the Court make decisions that are in the best interests of children. In keeping with the new family law framework, the services are not confidential or privileged and information obtained through interviews with children, parents and others is admissible in Court proceedings.

Civil law 
Laws regulating the behaviour of individuals; a form of private law.

Abbreviation for the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia

Change of Assessment. More correctly a Departure from Administrative Assessment of Child Support.

Change of Assessment. More correctly a Departure from Administrative Assessment of Child Support.

Cost of Children

Combined Child Support amount
The Combined Child Support Amount is the total of parents incomes used in the formula to determine the amount of child support income to be paid and or received.

Combined Registry
A process initiated by the FMC and FCoA to minimise wastage caused by having two different registries in the one location

Common law 
Case law developed in common courts. This term is sometimes used to describe all case law or judge made law.

Conciliation conference 
A conference convened by legally trained registrars in the Family Courts. It involves all parties and their lawyers, aiming to resolve disputes in financial cases.

Consent orders (in a case)
This terminology would apply when a case has commenced and the parties settle during the case. Parties may agree to written terms that they wish the court to approve. (usually called 'Terms of Settlement') If the parties agree on the orders they seek, the court will usually make those orders. A judge can make consent orders in court, or in chambers without the parties having to appear in court.

Consent orders 
An agreement between the parties that is approved by the court and then becomes a court order. This terminology would apply to parties that have lodged Consent Orders without making an application to start a case. Where both parties agree (consent) to certain things. These are filed with the court, carry the weight of a court order, but differ from a court order in that they have not been determined by the court.

A set of rules or principles according to which a state or other organisation is governed. A body of laws governing those who make laws. The Australian Constitution is an Act that sets out the structure of federal government and the powers of federal parliament.

Deliberately ignoring an order or direction from a Court, can carry a penalty depending on the severity of the offence

When a court finds a party has not complied with (followed) a court order, that party is in contravention of (or has breached) the order. On the site normally refers to a child contact order where a party has not complied with the order as prescribed by the court, or as agreed to by consent.

This term is used for the legal fees or expenses of a party to a matter in the Court. On the determination of a case, the court has the discretion to 'award' costs and order that a party pays another party's legal expenses for the matter.

A barrister.

Often used interchangeably with Mediation but doesn't mean the same thing. Generally with a degree of assistance to help resolve a situation in dispute within a relationship. Confused with mediation, negotiation, facilitation, conciliation, ADR Alternate Dispute Resolution andexpert appraisal.

Court Directions Hearing
Before the trial or hearing of a matter a judge gives directions so that the parties involved will be properly ready for the hearing. Generally it involves setting down a list of steps to be taken by the parties and the deadline for those steps. The steps usually involve filing of material and defining the issues that require a decision by the court.

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

Court order 
The actions the parties or a party must do to carry out a decision made by a court. An order may be either interim or final.

Child Support Amount

Child Support Income

Cost of this child

Cuba is the database system used by the CSA (Currently looking at being replaced)

Cuba is the database system used by the CSA (Currently looking at being replaced)


Departure Authorisation Certificate. A certificate that allows a person to leave the country, counteracting a DPO.

Deputy Chief Justice of the Family Court

De Facto
The status of a person's relationship with another. A de facto relationship means that ... (a) T he persons are not legally married to each other; and (b) the persons are not related by family (see subsection (6)); and (c) having regard to all the circumstances of their relationship, they have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis. Paragraph (c) has effect subject to subsection (5).

Generic usually referring to a Judgement

Delegated Legislation
Delegated (or subordinate or subsidiary) legislation refers to those laws made by persons or bodies to whom parliament has delegated law-making authority. Where acts are made by parliament, each principal act makes provision for subsidiary legislation to be made, and will specify who has the power to do so under that act. Delegated legislation can only exist in relation to an enabling act. Delegated legislation contains the many administrative details necessary to ensure that the provisions of the act will operate successfully. It may be administered by Government Departments, Local Councils or Courts. Regulations and Statutory Rules are the most common forms of delegated legislation. They are made by the executive or a minister and apply to the general population. By-laws, and sometimes Ordinances, are made by a local government authority and apply to the people who live in that area. Rules commonly describe procedure to be followed in Courts. Example The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) Part XII Regulations - authorizes the Copyright (International Protection) Regulations 1969 (Cth) and the Copyright Regulations 1969 (Cth). The Supreme Court Act 1935 (WA) Part X Rules of Court - includes authorization of the Rules of the Supreme Court 1971 (WA).

Normally used as another term for Judgment

Determination of fact 
The court's role to discover the truth.

Determination phase 
Commences once the last resolution phase event has concluded without final resolution being achieved. It usually involves preparation for trial, and trial before the judge.

Directions Hearing
see mention and procedural. A hearing to determine the way a case will be heard (and run) At these hearings the following may occur reports, mediation may be ordered or an ICL may be appointed

Before the trial or hearing of a matter a judge gives directions so that the parties involved will be properly ready for the hearing. Generally it involves setting down a list of steps to be taken by the parties and the deadline for those steps. The steps usually involve filing of material and defining the issues that require a decision by the court.

Revealing all relevant information.

Occurs when a party who has started legal proceedings decides to stop them without the court needing to determine the issues in dispute.

The process by which the parties involved in legal proceedings inform each other of documents they have in their possession and which relate to the matters in dispute between the parties.

The ability to choose whether to, or whether not to, proceed with a decision.

When the decision is made on what seems fit for the circumstances.

Dispute Resolution
The first step in the process of determining parenting plans and/or property division when a private agreement between the parties cannot be reached. Formal dispute resolution by an FRC or other body (ie Relationships Australia) is mandatory as at 1st July 2007, in order to minimise the number of cases progressing to the more adversarial court system. A certificate from Dispute Resolution must be tendered with an application to commence a case in the courts. Note there are exceptions to this rule for urgent case such as child abuse and relocation et al

Divorce order 
An order made by a court that ends a marriage.

Departure Prohibition Order. An order disallowing a preson to leave the country.


Enforcement order 
An order made by a court to make a party or person comply with (follow) an order.

Abbreviation for Every Other Weekend

From Old French estoupail: 'stopper' or 'bung.' Legal rule that one cannot make an allegation or denial of fact that is contrary to one's previous actions or words.

et al
Similar to et cetera ('and the rest'), commonly used in judgments and writing to illustrate etc. More common legal use of the general term etc

Ex parte hearing 
A hearing where one party is not present and may not have been given notice of the application before the court; usually reserved for urgent cases. A legal proceeding brought by one person in the absence of and without representation or notification of other parties.

A document or item produced in court for inspection by the court, to be shown to a witness or because it is referred to in an affidavit.

Expert Witness
A witness with formal qualifications or expertise in a matter before the Court. A Family Report writer can be an expert witness


Family consultant 
A professional trained in social work or psychology who is an expert in assessing inter personal relationships and the needs of children in high conflict families. They provide assistance to disputing families and the Court.

Family Court
The Family Court of Australia. Also refers to the Family Court of Western Australia

Family Courts
Generalisation of Federal Courts (Family Court of Australia and Federal Magistrates Court of Australia) administering the Family Law Act

Family dispute resolution 
A process whereby a family dispute resolution practitioner assists people to resolve some or all of their disputes with each other following separation and/or divorce.

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

Family Law Courts 
Comprise the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Family law registry 
A public area at a Family Law Court where people can obtain information about the court and its processes and where parties file documents in relation to their case.

Family Report 
A behavioural science assessment (by a Family Consultant) report that focuses on the best interests of children from a non-legal and independent perspective. Family Reports are ordered by judicial officers and provided by Court employed family consultants or approved, private report writers. Normally all children, parents and any significant adults are interviewed.

Family Tax Benefit A
is paid for each child. The payment is income tested. The amount you get is based on your family's individual circumstances. You may be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A if you have: - a dependent child or student aged up to 22 years and - care of the child for at least 35 per cent of the time

Family Tax Benefit Part B
You may be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part B if: - you have ○ a dependent child under 16 years of age, or ○ a dependent full-time secondary student up until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 18, and - you have care of the child for at least 35 per cent of the time. The rate of Family Tax Benefit Part B is based on an income test. You and your partner cannot receive Family Tax Benefit Part B during a Paid Parental Leave period, but it may be paid after the Paid Parental Leave period ends. Note: you cannot receive Family Tax Benefit Part A or Part B for a child receiving a pension, payment, or benefit such as Youth Allowance.

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

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.

Abbreviation of the Federal Circuit Court (name changed from Federal Magistrates Court in July 2013)

Abbreviation for the Family Court of Australia

Federal Magistrate 
Previously a judicial officer of the Federal Magistrates Court. The Court changed its name in July 2013 to the Federal Circuit Court and Federal Magistrates are now Judges of that Court.

File Number
A file number allocated by the registry. This file number is generally used for all subsequent Family Laws issues in either the FMC or FCoA

Filing of documents 
Lodging of documents usually with the court registry and having them accepted by the court.

The procedure of lodging a document at a family law registry for placing on the court file.

Final orders 
Means the order of the court that finally decides a case (brings the case to a close) that is commenced by an Application for Final Orders (Form 1). The orders made by a Judge or an FM after the final hearing, as opposed to Interim Orders which are made during the course of the case. Final Orders are binding until the child gains legal adulthood. Further legal action can only take place as a result of an appeal or as a new case being granted after significant change in circumstances have occurred. Form more detail; refer to the precedent case Rice v Asplund.

Fine Tuning
Refers to taking a matter to Court without seeking significant changes and parents refining contact arrangements

Abbreviation for Family Law Court(s)

FLC File Search
A process whereby litigants can search for information regarding their case (FccOa and FCoA). The link is on the main page of the Court Portal

Abbreviation previously used for the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia (now FCC)

Freedom of Information

Form 1
An application to commence to a case

Form 4
Form notifying the court of child abuse.

A particular document that must be completed and filed at court. Different forms are used for different family law matters.

Family Relationship Centre. These centres are places where separated couples can go for 4 hours of free assistance to discuss parenting issues in an attempt to reach agreement rather than enter the Court process

Full Court of Appeal
On the site refers to thee Judges hearing an appeal

Full Court 
A Full Court consists of three or more judges together hearing an appeal from a decision of another judicial officer. In respect of some appeals from the Federal Magistrates Court, a Full Court may consist of a single judge.


Handing up
Typically any affidavits and other supporting evidence must be given (or served) to the other party prior to any court appearance where they will be discussed. Occasionally, the judge may request further information, or you can offer more information if you have adequate copies, on the day. This is called handing up. Do not rely on this ability as it is entirely at the Judges discretion. You may get dissapointed if important evidence is not able to be adduced (Added)

A proceeding conducted by the court to resolve issues or fact and/or law, in which evidence may be taken. A Court event with a Federal Magistrate or Judge, the parties (and their legal representatives)


Independent Childrens Lawyer (appointed by the Court) replaces the previous term Childrens Representative (Child Rep)

Independent Childrens Lawyer. Represnets the child(ren) in court matters. Usually appointed early on if both parties are self represented

Income Amount Order. An order from a court or via a COA that varies the amount of Child Support.

Income Amount Order. An order from a court or via a COA that varies the amount of Child Support.

In Chambers
Referring to an informal event (not in the Courtroom) between a presiding officer (normally a Judge) and the parties in a case

Independent children's lawyer 
A lawyer appointed by the court to represent a child's interests in a case.

A court order making a person do, or refrain from doing, something.

Inter Alia
Meaning amongst other things

Interim application 
An application for an order intended to continue until a further order of the Court.

Interim orders
An order or orders made by a court until another order or a final order is made. These are made while a case is in play. They can be set aside when the Magistrate or Judge hands down final orders or other overiding orders. Interim orders in family matters are usually heard "on the papers" with short argument only.

Interlocutory proceedings are specific issues in a matter usually dealt with between the filing of the application and the giving of the final hearing and decision.


A member of the Judiciary who has powers to hand down judgements. On this site, members of the Family Law Court, Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of Western Australia.

The final order or set of orders made by a judge, judicial registrar, federal magistrate after a court hearing, including reasons that usually set out the facts and law as applied in the case. Judgment is said to be 'reserved' when a judge needs time to consider all the evidence and argument and so postpones the delivery of the judgment from the date of the hearing in court to some later date. Judgment is said to be 'ex tempore' when a judge gives it orally immediately after the hearing of the matter.

Normally referring to a judicial decision (a decision made by a Judge)

Judicial discretion 
The right of a judge to make a choice, eg. in issuing certain orders.

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

Judicial Registrar 
A judicial officer who holds similar powers to a judge.

The authority given to a court and its judicial officers to apply the law. For example, the courts have jurisdiction under the Family Law Act 1975 in family law matters.


Less Adversarial Trial, Generally refers to 12A hearings

Leave' is permission to do something. For example, if a person has left it too late to appeal (they are over the time set by law), it may be possible for that person to ask the court for permission to appeal anyway. This would be by an application 'for leave to appeal'.

An act of parliament or piece of delegated legislation.

Liberty to apply 
The right of a party to apply for further orders to be made by the court, without the party having to commence a new action or file a formal document in a proceeding.

Low-Income Non-Enforcement Period. An administrative option for a payer to apply to the Registrar to suspend collection of periodic amounts of child maintenance, payable under a court order or court-registered agreement, during a period in which they receive a social security pension or benefit.

Litigant in person (see SRL)

An event before a judge or registrar that is usually organised in advance and recorded on the court's case management system and notice boards.

People who are parties to a dispute before a court they are 'litigating' or involved in legal proceedings.

The process of resolving disputes by filing or answering a complaint through the public court system.

Local Courts
Refers to Local State Courts (not Federal)

Lodge (lodgement)
To file papers in a registry which are stamped and entered into the Court records


A case management system designed to ensure that matters involving allegations of serious child abuse are dealt with as effectively and efficiently as possible. A particular Court process where there are generally serious allegations of abuse made by both or one parties The process is to provide the Court with information and facts in handling the case

Refers to a Magistrate in a State Court

Maintenace Action Test
To get more than the base rate of FTB Part A when you have a child in your care from a previous relationship, you need to take reasonable steps to obtain child support. This is known as the Maintenance Action Test. You can meet this test by applying for a child support assessment.

Maintenace Income test
Your Family Tax Benefit Part A payment will not be affected by the income test if: you or your partner get an income support payment, such as a pension, benefit, allowance or a Department of Veterans' Affairs service pension, or your family's adjusted taxable income for this financial year (2015) is $50,151 or less In most cases, your Family Tax Benefit Part A payment is worked out using 2 income tests. We will apply the test that gives you the highest rate of payment. The first test reduces the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A by 20 cents for each dollar above $50,151 until your payment reaches the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A. The second test reduces the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A by 30 cents for each dollar above $94,316 (plus $3,796 for each Family Tax Benefit child after the first) until your payment reaches nil. If your family income is close to the maximum cut off, you should check your eligibility after the end of the financial year once your actual income is known. Maintenance income test If you get more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A, a maintenance income test may also apply. The maintenance income test applies if you or your partner receives, or is entitled to receive child support or spousal maintenance.You must also be eligible to get more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A. If you or your partner are permanently blind and on specific pension payments, you may be exempt from the maintenance income test.

A matter is the case, or the legal proceeding.

Multi-case Allowance.

Multi-case Allowance

Multi-Case Cap for this child

Multi-Case Cost of Children

Multi-Case Cost of This Child

McKenzie Friend
Generic (named after an English case) for a person that can assist you with Court related matters and may be allowed to sit next to you in Court

From Latin mediare: 'to be in the middle.' A process in which an impartial third party assists the parties to a dispute in an attempt to bring about an agreed settlement or compromise. Where two parties to a case attend a session with an independent mediator, with a background in psychology, social work and/or dispute resolution, in order to resolve some or all issues regarding children and/or property. The attempt is to mediate (settle) any disputes. The mediator is neutral and does not take sides.

Generic normally used to indicate a first court date


Non-Agency Payment. Some payments made by a liable parent to, or on behalfof the recipient parent.

Natural justice 
Rules of fair play originally developed in the common law courts.

Nights Care

Notice to produce 
A document in which one party calls upon the other party to bring specific documents to the court at a specified time.


Obiter dictum 
A judge's statement made during a judgment, but not part of the reason for the decision.

On the papers 
To deal with an application on the written evidence and submissions filed by the parties, without taking oral evidence or submissions.

Original Poster

Original Poster

The Court has the power to order a person to do certain things. Judicial registrars and registrars can only make certain types of orders. (Command of the Court)

These are the outcomes of judgements handed down by the Judge/FM to one or both parties that must be complied with, in regard to the children or property at issue.

Original jurisdiction 
The authority or legal power to hear a case in the first instance.

Slang term for someone of extrodinary capacity and vocabulary, who has an amazing grasp of the spoken English language


Parental responsibility 
The responsibility of each parent to make decisions about the care, welfare and development of their children. These responsibilities may be varied by agreement or by a court order.

Parenting Agreement
see Parenting Plan

Parenting plan 
A written agreement between the parties setting out parenting arrangements for children. It is not approved by or filed with a court.

Both the applicant and respondent are parties to the proceeding. If a third party is joined or someone is given permission to intervene they also become parties to the proceeding.

Party or parties 
A person, organisation involved in a court case; for example, the applicant or respondent. A person (generally applicant or respondent in a case. For example on this site it normally refers to the Mother, the Father. Technically an ICL is also a party. Other persons must be "adjoined" or added to the case.

Parental Alienation Syndrome. Whilst the Courts do recognise Parental Alienation it is generally not considered a syndrome because of the United states usage of the word and the lack of any recognition as a scheduled physyiatric ailment. Courts require evidence of alienation and it is a difficult area to navigate through NZ and Australian Courts.

Parents Cost Percentage

Parents CS Percentage

Primary Dispute Resolution. Required by the FCoA under the Rules Amendments of 2004. FCoA and FCCoA accepts attendance at an FRC as PDR. It is also referred to as ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution) . You must use an acredited practitioner but do not have to use the FRC (Family Relationship Centres)

Pending cases inventory 
An inventory of cases filed but not yet disposed of or finalised make up the Court's pending caseload.

Pending matters are filed cases that have not yet been finalised by judgment or otherwise.

Parents Income Percentage

A major WEB site that contains multiple web sites OR a number of modules Or is a gateway to other web sites rather than a single information site.It can be likened to a shopping mall housing multiple retailers. The Family Law WEB Guide is a portal of sorts in that it provides a number of information modules and links to other key sites. The Family Courts have an excellent Portal but it is very limited by teh fact not all documents are filed electronically.

Practice Directions 
Practice Directions are issued by the Chief Justice or Chief Federal Magistrate for the assistance of parties and practitioners about the conduct of proceedings before the Court.

Pre Trial Conference
A conference event to ensure both parties are ready for trial and that all required material is available

Judgments quoted as an authority for deciding a similar set of facts; from an equivalent or higher court. precedent: (From Latin prcedens: 'going before in time'). Generally a case that has gone to Appeal and where the outcome is used as a guide to determine a range of similar cases.Family Court examples are Rice and Asplund, Goode and Goode et al

Prima facie case 
Prima facie is Latin for 'at first sight' or 'on first consideration.' A showing of sufficient evidence to initially establish an applicant's case. If such a case is made out, the opposing party (the respondent) is then required to respond; if not, the case will be dismissed. Normally applicable to urgent applications such as recovery orders.

Primary Care
66% to 86% care.

Procedural fairness 
The just administration of rules that provide how parties go about enforcing their legal rights.

Procedural hearing
A hearing at which orders are made by a court of a practical nature. For example, the court may order the parties to attend family dispute resolution.

Procedural order 
An order made by a court of a practical nature. For example, the court may order the parties to attend family dispute resolution.


"Quango or qango is an acronym (variously spelt out as quasi non-governmental organisation, quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation, and quasi-autonomous national government organisation) used notably in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and elsewhere to label colloquially an organisation to which government has devolved power. In the United Kingdom the official term is "non-departmental public body" or NDPB." "Depending upon one's point of view, the separation of a quango from government might be either to allow its specified functions to be more commercially exercised, independently of politics and changeable government priorities, and unencumbered by civil service practices and bureaucracy; OR else to allow an elected minister to exercise patronage, and extend their influence beyond their term of office, while evading responsibility for the expenditure of public money and the exercise of legal powers."


Restricted Access to certain Information. In certain circumstances Child Support will provide an additional level of protection to customer information.

Ratio decidenti 
The legal reasoning on which a judgment is based.

Relevant Dependant Child Amount. An amount, deducted from a parent's income for non-cs children, to whom they are a parent, in their care. The cost of relevant dependant children is worked out using the same cost tables as for CS children. However, only the parent's income is applied.

Relevant Dependant Child Amount

Reasonable Excuse
On this site refers to use of the term during a contravention hearing where the Court accepts that although an order may have been contravened there was a reasonable excuse to do so. The definition is covered more fully in the Family Law Act

Recovery order
Usually an urgent order issued by the Courts for the recovery of a child

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. (Exercises powers delegated by the judges of the Court). The person(s) in charge of the administrative side of the court. Registrars have some power to make certain types of orders (mostly procedural)

An office of the Court that files court documents or accepts court documents for filing. The administrative arm of the court house that manages hearing dates and filing of documents.

Regular Care
14% to 34% care.

Refers to a parent moving to an area which will make existing or proposed contact problematic

Often used interchangeably. Refers to Application- Response-Reply

Resolution phase 
Covers the period from the commencement of proceedings by filing an application to the point at which it is decided that a case should be prepared for trial.

The person, organisation against whom legal proceedings have been started by the applicant. A respondent may or may not respond to the orders sought by the applicant. The party who is responding to the application. In other words, not the party that has brought the case before the court.

Return date 
The date on which a matter is next listed before the court.

Registrar Initiated Change of Assessment. Where the regisatrar doesn not require a parent to apply for a COA. Note the registrar only has the legislative authoirty to initiate a Reason 8 COA.

Rice and Asplund
(see change of circumstances) the most commonly use precedent to accept/reject a change of circumstances argument

Rule of law 
The concept that everyone obeys the law; no one is above it.

The Family Law Rules, sometimes referred to as the Rules of the Court, set out key obligations such as what forms must be used, when they must be filed and any other requirements of the Court. The Federal Circuit Court of Australia has its own Rules. These rules are extensive and should not be underestimated.


The section of the act that deals with privacy and prevents publication of details of family law cases in the public domain.

Security for costs 
If the court makes an order that the applicant provide security for costs for a certain sum, then the applicant must provide to the registry, security to that value. This is to ensure that, if the applicant loses the case, and is ordered to pay the respondent's costs, those costs will be paid.

Self Represented Litigant 
People who are a party to a dispute before the Court, who have no legal representative and are conducting the matter on their own behalf.

To serve paperwork on the other party (or parties) Dates and method of service are determined by either Rules or decisions made in Court. Although different types of service are acceptable (normally physical, post) other types (fax and email) may be acceptable provided both parties agree and there is no dispute (in Court) whether documents have been served.

The process of sending or giving 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 a court.

Shared Care
35% to 65% care.

Single entry point
A process where all applications are lodged in one registry and where the registry made determine whether the case proceeds to the FMC or FCoA dependent upon time or the nature of the case.

Spoual Maintenace
The money paid to a former spouse by the higher earning former spouse. This may be required whether or not children are at issue in the case.

A self represented litigant. A person who is going to represent themselves. It is not an easy task and bundling some services with a legal professional is another effective option.

Self-Support Amount the amount set-aside, when calculating child support, a parent needs.

Self-Support Amount the amount set-aside, when calculating child support, a parent needs.

Self Support Amount. The protected amount quarantined by Child Support before calulations are made.

Social Security Appeals Tribunal where you would take a Child Support matter after your objection is turned down.

Stand over 
To adjourn a matter to another date.

Acts of parliament. See also 'Act'

Acts of parliament. See also 'Act'

Statutory rule 
The generic name for all types of delegated legislation.

Legal argument (either oral or written) put to the court at a hearing. Written or verbal arguments to support a case by summarising the positive facts and referring to both the Act and case law

A document issued in a legal proceeding requiring a person to give evidence or to produce documents to the court at a certain place and time. A subpoena is a court order, and if properly issued and served, then disobeyed, the disobedient person could be in contempt of court. Issued by the Court (on request) to compel an individual or organisation to either produce material and/or attend a hearing

Summary of Argument
During the court process or directions hearing you will be asked to prepare a Summary of Argument which will also contain details of any case law or precedents or list of Authorities that will be used in your arguments. This is a very difficult area of the legal process for Self representing parties and can take a very considerable amount of time to prepare.

A document issued by a court directing a person to appear before it.


Tender years
Refers to a child or children generally under the age of 2 years. Be aware that young children and babies are treated very caustiously by the courts and contact should be frequent and regular where there are no factors that would suggets otherwise..

Tax File Number.

The Act
Refers to the Family Law Act of 1975 with subsequent amendments especially the key amendments of 2006 and 2010.

The Bench
Slang/generic term referring to who is controlling the Court (Magistrate, Federal Magistrate. Judge, Registrar)

The Court(s)
General term used for both the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCCoA) and Family Court of Australia (FCoA)

The Slip Rule
Where a demonstrable error has been made in orders ie transcription errors such as incorrect details or dates. The Court can make amendments to orders that have been sent out under this rule.

A civil wrong where one person unreasonably interferes with the rights of another.

A civil wrong where one person unreasonably interferes with the rights of another.

A record of the spoken evidence in a court case. All court hearings are recorded, except uncontested divorce hearings. The court does not order transcripts in all instances and does not provide transcripts to parties. If a party orders a transcript, they will be responsible for the costs.

Judicial examination and determination of issues between parties with or without a jury. The final hearing of a matter before a judge, federal magistrate, or judicial registrar. Having considered all the evidence presented, the judicial officer will make orders to finalise the matter.

A specialised adjudication body. The term is generally used to refer to administrative dispute resolution bodies other than courts.


United Nations Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance.

Urgent Application
An application where the normal requirements of time are dispensed with. These are for urgent matters such as recovery abuse airport watches et al


A written court order to do or refrain from doing something.

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