Family Court sheds light on divorce and serving documents

Date: Mar 18, 2014

The Family Court of Australia receives a total of 45,000 applications for divorce each year. However, about 70 per cent of the people who send these applications are not represented by a divorce law firm.

It is important that you get family law advice on matters such as divorce and child custody arrangements, as these areas of family law can be quite complex.

In order to make sure people are better informed about divorce, The Family Court has launched a video on its official YouTube channel, titled 'How to Apply for a Divorce: Serving Divorce Papers".

This provides easy-to-understand facts and figures about serving documents - an aspect of divorce that many people are confused about.

The video is the first in what Richard Foster, chief executive officer of The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court, hopes will be a wide range of educational videos.

"The courts aim to help clients through the legal system in what is often a difficult time in their lives," said Mr Foster in a February 2014 media statement.

He believes presenting the information in a digital format will make it more accessible than old-fashioned printed fact sheets.

"The move from traditional to online media reflects the ways in which clients are searching for information and also reflects the changing ways in which people are consuming information."

This is not The Family Court's first attempt at using technology and social media to communicate with people in every state and territory. 

It also has a Twitter account, which has been active since October 2012, and - along with the Federal Circuit Court - encourages people to use the Commonwealth Courts Portal, which stores information about cases online.

How do you go about serving documents?

You can either do this by post or by hand, reveals The Family Court. You should only go with the first option, however, if you can be absolutely sure your partner will return the necessary forms to you. Without these, the Family Court will have no proof your partner received the documents.

If you are serving documents by hand, note that you cannot perform the task yourself. You will need to arrange for some who is 18 years old or above to act as the server on your behalf.

If your partner is in Australia, they must be given the documents at least 28 days before they are due to appear in Family Court. If they are overseas, this time limit jumps to 42 days.