What Happens At Family Court
While the family court is an official and legal court environment, it is slightly less formal than the traditional courtroom environment. It should be viewed as a specialist court and matters relating to families are decided and judged upon here. There are a number of different topics and areas that can be judged at the family court including adoption, the moving of children into care and any issues relating to the residency or contact with children. One of the ways that environment is made less formal is the fact that the barristers do not have to wear gowns and wigs. Many hearings will also take place around a table although there will be some hearings that take place in a traditional courtroom environment.
While the family court is not as formal as a traditional court, it is still important to behave in the correct manner and fashion. Visiting any court can be a difficult and trying time but being respectful is always likely to see you held in higher regard than people who are disrespectful.
Always arrive at court in good time
When arriving at the family court, it is advised to arrive in good time. This should be the time your solicitors advice for you to arrive in advance of the time that you are due to appear in court. The family court is likely to be busy with a lot of people so make sure that you make yourself known to an usher. The usher can be recognised through them wearing a black robe and they will inform you where you should be.
You should not plan or hope for your case to be resolved at the first hearing. In the vast majority of cases, people find that they have to attend at the family court at least twice, if not more. Traditionally, the first hearing sees the court make directions. These directions will refer to statements in the case being filed or evidence being prepared and ready for inspection. It is often the case that this hearing sets a deadline for all of the evidence to be prepared and readied for court. You will find that all proceedings in the family court are held in private and there will be no public reporting of anything that is said. In the future this may as the role of journalists being present at family court hearings is being reviewed but for now, there is no likelihood of your case hearings being reported in the media. This can be of benefit and provide reassurance to many families during a trying and difficult period.
The applicant always speaks first
During the hearing, the person that is making the application which has resulted in the hearing will be the first to speak. If the person has a solicitor representing them, the solicitor will speak on their behalf and will outline the opening statement. There is then the chance for the other party to reply to the opening statement and to state their opposition to the application that has been raised.
The judge or presiding magistrate has the option to ask questions to both of the parties involved if they would like more information about the case. If you are required to provide evidence during the case, you will talk under oath. It is possible for the lawyer on the other side to ask you questions and the magistrates or judge can also ask you questions.
If you have been instructed to attend at the family court, it is imperative that you attend unless you have then been told that you have been excused. Many people would like to bring a friend or family member to provide them with support and while this is possible, the permission of the court needs to be arranged in advance. It is also worth remembering that if your friend or family member is required to give evidence or speak in court, they are not permitted to be present during the proceedings until they have provided their own evidence.
what happens at family court?