Have you ever had a dream that has come true? Well, I have!
Prior to attending a Family Court hearing on the first day of spring, 1st September, I had a dream a few nights earlier about not making it to the court on time and missed out on getting a divorce.
Well, this to my horror actually came true, as apparently the distant court system failed me by not doing what they should have done by following through with locating my ex under the guidance of a comprehensive affidavit where, due to not knowing his address at the time of my original lodgement, I applied for dispensation (special consideration), which means the courts seek his whereabouts.
It turns out this is not correct, they don’t do anything, they rely on the applicant, me doing all the work or seeking expensive legal representation to do it on my behalf.
Having already paid out more than $10k on gaining property settlement through two different lawyers, one ineffective and the other extremely effective. Under the guidance of the second lawyer, I proceeded with filling for a divorce online.
Unfortunately, my attempt to gain the divorce just didn’t happen. The court’s appointed remote Registrar mentioned via his telephone link-up to the local court in Coffs Harbour where everyone in attendance, being other applicants seeking a divorce were all part of my hearing, as I was to theirs.
Here I am in front of a microphone and speaking to a remote person, like the Registrar in Lismore Family Courts. He halted the proceedings for a few moments while he read my two affidavits then replied, “This case is being adjourned until 30 October due to the respondent not being notified of this application for a divorce”
You have got to be kidding I thought, but of course couldn’t say anything. And why hasn’t he been advised, all my paperwork and online payment for this divorce occurred 19 May. There hasn’t been any communication, apart from the Family Law Courts official stamping of my affidavits, between the court and myself advising anything other than an allocated date and time were given to me at the conclusion of my online application and payment and that was more than three months ago.
Obviously, there wasn’t anything I could do other than sit there dumbfounded at the lack of action from the supplied information in the affidavits from this futile Family Law Court system. What if he isn’t located again on the 30 October, do we start this process again?
Pondering on the day’s events I thought where are the personal privacy laws in all these proceedings? I heard before my case 20 or so applicants, three represented by their lawyers, be granted their divorce, their names, family status arrangements were all read out by the court’s office and of course the remote Registrar, whom we couldn’t see but only hear, including the shuffling of every case paperwork, while he got himself familiar with the case in question.
How hard was it for the court’s staff to go to the electoral roll and or Centrelink to locate an address for my ex-husband? Or just notify me that the case was to be been adjourned etc.
Unfortunately, we are just a number in the social service system, without any privacy rights. Due to Privacy Laws I personally can not give out anyone’s personal details without gaining their permission, but the Family Courts can announce in front of total strangers that you are applying for and in other attendees, present granted a divorce.
Personally, I was ready to give up, but friends and family have inspired me forward to take control by acquiring a process server to ensure my ex-gets the ‘Acknowledgement of Service’ and affirming he received the order served upon him with a signed ‘Signature of Acceptance’ advising that 30 October is divorce day.