Judge makes final orders in the absence of a party to family law proceedings

Judge makes final orders in the absence of a party to family law proceedings

Steiner Legal recently succeeded in securing their client, Mr Vickery*, the father of a 10 year old boy sole parental responsibility and full time ‘live with’ orders from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, following the mother abandoning their child.

In early December 2014 and with our assistance, Mr Vickery made an application under the Family Law Act 1975 when he learnt that the mother had left their child with her mother (the child’s elderly grandmother) while she went on an extended holiday to Queensland with no expected return date. Despite numerous attempts to serve the mother with the court documents, she was unable to be located for this purpose. Despite evidence suggesting that she had knowledge of the Court proceedings, she did not make any effort to appear.

At the second mention of the matter on 3 March 2015, Judge Scarlett of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia made ex parte (in the absence of one party) final orders in their matter. He ordered that the child was to live with his father permanently and that he should have sole parental responsibility for decision making relating to the child.

This matter is an example of the Court’s power and willingness to make orders in the absence of a party to the proceedings. Orders made under the Family Law Act 1975 are final and may only be changed if there is an exceptional change in circumstance that affects the best interests of the child – a threshold that is often difficult to satisfy.

At Steiner Legal, we represent both Applicants and Respondents, and mothers and fathers in family law proceedings. This means that we are well equipped to assist you in your case, no matter the circumstances.

If you have recently been served with court documents and are required to attend court in a family law matter, please contact Steiner Legal so that we may assist you.

Access to the full judgment can be viewed here:


*This article has been published using the pseudonym Vickery & Prout. These are not the names of the parties.

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