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Contested Family Law Proceedings

What You Need to Know About Taking Your Family Law Proceedings to Trial

The golden rule of any legal dispute is it’s always cheaper to settle. But settling doesn’t always produce a fair result, so the parties may need to weigh the additional costs against the potential benefits of going to trial. At Chatswood Family Lawyers, we encourage our clients to have clear goals for any litigation and to be realistic about their attainability. Our trial experience allows us to predict with reasonable accuracy how a judge is likely to rule on many issues. We provide accurate assessments so that you can make an informed decision about how to proceed. That said, there are times when a trial is necessary to obtain a just resolution. You can trust us to litigate your case aggressively, with the utmost preparation and the full application of our courtroom skills.


Contested Family Law Proceedings means that you and your spouse have not reached an agreement on one or more of the issues necessary for a final family law settlement. The most frequently litigated family law issues are child custody and property distribution. When issues are held over for trial, there is presently a wait of about 2 years for a court date. During this time, the lawyers prepare for trial, which may involve the following:

  • Financial statements

During the Australian family law process, the parties are required to complete full financial disclosure. We may use the disclosure process to determine whether a spouse is hiding assets that should be considered marital property.

  • Witnesses

Your lawyer will ask questions of you and any witnesses for your case and prepare their evidence which they will have to sign under oath and which will be presented to the judge at the trial. Witness credibility is a major issue in contested matters. For example, in child custody disputes, witnesses who credibly recount abuse or conduct detrimental to the child’s health and welfare can heavily influence the court.

  • Experts

For property disputes, it may be necessary to consult forensic accountants or financial analysts to obtain accurate valuations of financial instruments and real estate holdings. Lawyers also often work with child psychologists to bolster or refute the findings of the court-appointed child psychologist.

  • Independent Children’s Lawyer

The court may appoint someone to conduct an independent evaluation of a child and return an opinion regarding what would be in the youngster’s best interest.

A trial can last one day or several days before the judge renders a decision. This depends on the number of issues and their complexity.


When selecting a Family Law and Divorce Lawyer, it is important to choose someone who is capable of going to trial if litigation becomes necessary. For reliable courtroom representation, contact Chatswood Family Lawyers online, by email at or by phone on (02) 9412 4500. Our firm serves clients throughout the North Shore, Greater Sydney and its environs.