Interim hearings are hearings by a Judge that deal with discreet issues before a final hearing. The orders made at an interim hearing can last a long time, so you need to be prepared to make your best case to the Judge.
Parenting Interim Hearings Preparation
Step 1 – Gather Evidence Early
Whatever case you are making to the Judge will require real and factual evidence. The evidence required depends on what your case is. You can get evidence from organisations using a ‘subpoena’.
If you want to subpoena someone or an organisation to produce information that may help you, you can find a subpoena form and other family law court forms here.
Evidence you need to support the other parent is at risk
Suppose you are making allegations that the other parent is a risk, and as such, you are seeking interim orders that decrease that parents’ time with the child and be prepared by having evidence supporting you. For example, if you suspect that the other parent is physically abusing the children, you might provide documents from the Queensland Police Service proving that an investigation is taking place.
Evidence to support the child has mental health issues
Or another example would be that your child has severe separation anxiety issues when away from you; a report from a psychologist that supports a finding of separation anxiety would be beneficial. You can find a list of professionals such as family report writers, parenting order programs, counselling, domestic violence support and many other helpful resources for any independent evidence you may require here.
TIP: Don’t forget about affidavits
Step 2 – Prepare a written outline of submissions.
It would help if you prepare your submissions for the interim hearing in writing; this makes it easy for the Judge to understand your case.
In the written outline you should include:
- A list of documents you want the Judge to read;
- A short chronology of the events regarding the child;
- Areas where you agree with the other party;
- Areas where you disagree and include evidence obtained in Step 1 when writing these submissions
Step 3 – Propose orders
Prepare orders that you would want the Judge to make.
Step 4 – Practice
Anticipate the questions the Judge might make and how you would answer them. Ensure you sound reasonable and have well thought out your case.
Step 5 – Consider seeking legal advice
The outcomes at an interim hearing can last a very long time and impact the entire outcome of your case. You should seek legal advice and even consider hiring a lawyer to handle your interim hearing.
Property Interim Hearings Preparation
If you want to resolve an issue with a property, you need to consider what the problem exactly is.
Step 1- What exactly do you want
In an interim hearing for property you might ask the Judge to:
- stop the sale of property;
- force the party to disclose certain assets;
- force the party to sell a certain property;
- stop the withdrawal of superannuation;
- provide you with an interim distribution of the property; or
- pay your spousal maintenance.
Step 2 – Gather Evidence
You will need evidence of the case; for example, if you believe the other party is withholding financial information, you should gather as much detail as possible about this issue. You may be able to issue subpoenas to the financial organisation to support your case.
Step 3 – Outline your arguments in writing.
It depends on what you are asking for what you will need to back up your request.
For example, if you’re asking for spousal maintenance, you will need to outline to the Judge your case to rely on past cases of spousal maintenance. If you’re asking for an interim distribution, you must be familiar with when and why are judge would make one.
It’s almost always best to secure a lawyer for interim property hearings, as orders made in the interim can last a very long time. If you’re concerned about legal fees, many family lawyers have fee arrangments in place for property matters.