How do I file a response?

If you have been served with an Initiating application or an Application in a proceeding you can respond by filing a Response to initiating application or a Response to an application in a proceeding within 28 days after you have been served with the application.

A Response to Initiating Application or Response to an Application in a Proceeding can be used to:

    • Consent to an order sought by the applicant.
    • Ask the Court to make another order.
    • Ask the Court to dismiss the application.
    • Seek orders in a matter other than the matter set out in the application.

If you do not wish to contest to any of the orders sought in an application you may file a Submitting notice. A Submitting Notice must be filed before the first court date or if you were served the application after the first court date, before the next court date.

For more information about service go to Children: I have been served and Finances and property: I have been served.

Seeking legal advice

It is advisable to obtain legal advice before making a decision about what to do or before applying to the Court. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. They can also explain how the law applies to your case. A lawyer may also be able to help you reach an agreement without going to court. The Court is unable to provide legal advice to people with family relationship issues. To do so could seriously compromise the court's ability to impartially determine a case if a person then applies to the court seeking orders.

Where can I obtain free legal advice?

The Family Relationship Advice Line (FRAL) can help you with free legal advice and information about services available to assist anybody with family relationship issues - call 1800 050 321 or +61 7 3423 6878 if you are overseas.  You should advise FRAL that you are seeking legal advice and they will take your details and a lawyer will call you back.  The will advise you of a timeframe on the call back, you should advise if it is urgent.

For more information see Find a lawyer.

What documents do I need to file in response?

Different documents are required to be filed when responding to an Initiating application or Application in a proceeding depending on the type of proceedings and whether you wish to introduce new proceedings.

Select the relevant type of proceedings below for more information about what to file:

  • Response to initiating application (form not required when eFiling using the guided option).
  • Genuine steps certificate - must be filed with the response, but if eFiled can only be lodged after the application is submitted and a court date chosen. See eFiling instructions below.
  • Questionnaire - Financial
  • Financial statement
  • Affidavit, only if you are:
    • Responding to interlocutory (interim) orders sought in an Initiating application.
    • Introducing interlocutory (interim) orders in the Response to initiating application.
    • Required to do so by another provision of the Rules or by a practice direction.

  • Response to an application in a proceeding (form not required when eFiling using the guided option).
  • Affidavit in support stating the facts relied on in support of the Response and must not exceed (unless leave is granted by the court):
    • Division 1 – more than 10 annexures.
    • Division 2 – more than 5 annexures.

If the applicant opposes any orders introduced in the Response to an application in a proceeding they can file and serve an affidavit setting out the facts relied on. There is a limit of one affidavit by each party.

How do I file the response?

You should electronically file (eFiling) your Response to Initiating Application or Response to an Application in a Proceeding on the Commonwealth Courts Portal. This allows you, within the Court’s secure website, to access your court file, the ability to eFile and access court orders 24/7.

If you are unable to eFile the application click on Unable to eFile below.

There are two options when eFiling your response:

  • Guided – Using the guided option by completing the online interactive Response to initiating application or Response to an application in a proceeding (there is no need to complete a separate form) and uploading the required documents.
  • Unguided – Using the unguided option by uploading the completed Response to initiating application or Response to an application in a proceeding form and any required documents - this option must be used when your application is urgent.

If you are not registered on the Commonwealth Courts Portal or are registered but do not have access to your file electronically email registerme@comcourts.gov.au with your full name, date of birth, name of the other party, file number (if known) and your portal user name if you are already registered so we can create your registration or provide access to your file.

A document uploaded to the Commonwealth Courts Portal should be completed, signed, witnessed (if required), scanned and uploaded to your computer where you will easily find it, in a PDF format. If you are unable to save the document as a PDF you will be able to convert it to a PDF when you are required to upload the document using the PDF converter available at the File a document page.

TIP: The Genuine Steps Certificate is required to be uploaded after eFiling:

  • Select + next to the Final Orders Application and select Add document then confirm the eFiling obligations

  • Select the Genuine Steps Certificate from the document type dropdown list and complete the filed by information.

  • Select Choose file to upload the document from your computer.

See How do I eFile? for a step-by-step guide to eFiling your response and required documents.

If you are unable to eFile the Response to initiating application or Response to an application in a proceeding you can file them at a court registry. For registry locations near you see Court locations.

You will be required to pay a filing fee if you are responding to an Initiating Application unless you are eligible for an exemption. There is no fee to respond to an Application in a proceeding.

For fees information go to Fees. Depending on what type of orders you seek will depend on the amount of fees. Fees are payable at the time of filing. 

If you electronically file the application you will be required to pay the filing fee by credit/debit card (visa/mastercard) when you complete the application.

If you file the application at a Court registry you will need to pay the filing fee at the same time.

NOTE: If you DO NOT have a credit/debit card you can buy a pre-paid debit card from various retail outlets for a nominal fee.

To find out if you are eligible for an exemption of fees refer to the Guidelines for exemption of court fees. 

If you are eligible for an exemption you need to file an Application for exemption from fees – General and you will be required to provide documentary evidence e.g. health care card when you file the application.  

If you are not eligible, but paying the fee will cause you financial hardship you can apply for an exemption due to financial hardship by filing an Application for exemption from Fees – Financial hardship. If you electronically file you must choose the un-guided option if you wish to apply under financial hardship.

What happens after I have filed the response?

You are required to serve the documents on any other party.

A Response to initiating application or Response to an application in a proceeding must be filed and served by ordinary service within 28 days of service of the application on the respondent.

For more information see How do I serve family law documents.