Cairns Divorce Lawyers | Family Lawyers

Child Custody Law: Interim Hearing Process

Once you have made an application to the court seeking child custody orders, or orders relating to parenting arrangements, the court can either make orders by consent (when you and your former partner can agree on arrangements), or form a decision in the best interests of the children at a Final Hearing.

However, if there are urgent matters that cannot wait until a Final Hearing, the court can conduct an Interim Hearing. The purpose of an Interim Hearing in parenting matters is to ensure that there are adequate arrangements in place for the children pending the Final Hearing (which can often take more than 18 months).

At an Interim Hearing, the court can make preliminary or “short-term” orders, which generally stay in place until the court makes a final decision (after a Final Hearing).

Interim Hearings are shorter than Final Hearings, and the judge will usually make a decision based on written material (affidavits) filed by witnesses and on oral submissions made by the party (or their lawyer or barrister if they are legally represented).

The court will consider:

  • any risks posed to the children
  • what the arrangements were for the children during the parents’ relationship
  • the current circumstances of the parents.

After an Interim Hearing is conducted, the court will hand down its decision (usually, but not always, on the same day) and will make Interim Orders.

Interim Orders usually stay in place until all parties agree on Final Orders, or the Court conducts a Final Hearing (whichever comes first).


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