- Domestic Violence
- Property settlement;
- Parenting matters;
- Spousal Maintenance;
- Child Abduction;
- Urgent Applications for parenting matters; and
- Child Protection.
At VM Family Law, our lawyers are experienced in representing and assisting clients with all family law matters including domestic violence, divorce, parenting arrangements and property settlements. Depending on your requirements, our family lawyers can assist you with legal representation in Family Court or in family mediation. Don’t do it alone, have an approachable, experienced and understanding family lawyer by your side. Chat with our team today, or book a consultation online.
A legal representative is someone you have chosen to stand on your behalf regarding legal matters. This person’s primary duty is to provide you with legal representation in court. An example of a legal representative is your family lawyer.
The short answer to whether you need a lawyer for family court is no. When it comes to family court representation, it is not mandatory for you to have a lawyer before bringing a case to court. You are allowed to represent yourself if you wish.
However, self representation in family courts can be quite difficult. This is because there are several aspects of family law that may prove difficult to handle without adequate legal training and experience.
Some of the challenging areas of family law where it is advisable to get legal representation in court are:
Although self representation in family courts is allowed, it is still not advisable. Some of the reasons why you should not represent yourself in court include:
Lack of knowledge
Family law cases can be complicated even when it appears simple. Preparing the legal documents and providing evidence can all prove complex without proper knowledge of the law.
Lack of experience
The fact that you know more about your case than anyone doesn’t make you the best person to represent yourself. One of the reasons for this is that the chances are that you’ve never been in court before.
And even if you have, you probably haven’t had to go head-to-head with a trained and experienced family lawyer.
You could incriminate yourself.
Due to the lack of specialised experience, you may incriminate yourself during the legal process.
Your emotions may cloud your judgment.
Family law matters are sensitive and can often get emotional. Since you’re representing yourself, you could become overcome with emotions in the course of doing so. You may also become panicky or defensive when you’re put under pressure. None of these scenarios would be to your benefit.
Court rules and procedures
Self-representation in family court requires familiarising yourself with the court rules and procedures. The judge will not let you off the hook for breaking the court rules or procedures because you are not an attorney.
When representing yourself, other legal workers are not allowed to provide any legal advice. The only legal advice you may get will be from the judge telling you to seek legal representation in court.
A family lawyer is in the best position to provide family court representation. Any lawyer can take up your legal family case, however a lawyer that specialises in family law would be more experienced and better equipped to handle your matter.
At VM Family Law, we have a team of professionals with years of experience in handling family law cases. With our expertise, you know that your case is in the best hands.
Generally, there are four stages involved in a family court hearing. These include:
At this stage, the judge will request a description of the issue at hand as well as the position of both parties on the matter. The judge will also ask for the number of witnesses each party will present during the hearing.
If your family lawyer has prepared a statement covering these things, they can ask the judge for permission to make it.
The primary purpose of this stage is to give the judge an idea of what the trial is about. This will help the judge to determine relevant evidence and the law they are to apply.
- Presentation of evidence
At this point, both parties present their evidence, including the testimonies from your child’s legal representative if applicable. The court will also allow a party to cross-examine the other party and vice versa.
The role of the judge during this process is to make certain that the evidence presented does not go against the laws of evidence.
- Closing submission
After the court has heard all the information, there will be a chance for both parties to briefly explain what they want the verdict of the judge to be and how the evidence presented supports them.
- Decision Making
This is the final stage, and it involves the judge considering the presented evidence. After considering the evidence, the judge will then determine the aspect of the law that applies to those facts and reach a decision.
After that, the judge will give their decision and the reasons right in the courtroom. Note, the judge may not always make their decision immediately after the case is over. They may state their decision another day in court or present their decision in writing.
Yes, you can appeal a Family Court decision. If you are not satisfied with the trial court’s decision, you can file an appeal. An appeal is a petition to have a higher court change the decision made by a lower court.
Appealing to a higher court doesn’t necessarily mean a re-do of your trial. It only means that the higher court will review the evidence presented to the lower court as well as the judge’s decision.
After reviewing, the higher court can set aside, confirm, or modify the lower court’s decision. The higher court could even order a new trial.
To successfully file an appeal, it is best you get legal representation in court.
You can change your family court judge by requesting the transfer of the judge. However, you must request the transfer in the early stages of the proceedings.
This is because it becomes more difficult to transfer a judge when the proceedings are halfway. To transfer a judge, you will have to prove that the judge assigned has so far conducted the trial unfairly. For this, it is better that you have a family lawyer representing you.
If you need assistance regarding any legal family matter, consult with a family lawyer today to assess the situation. When it comes to family court representation, the right family lawyer can be of great benefit.