The Family Court is open to the public. Members of the public are entitled to access the courtroom and all other areas, including the lobbies, waiting areas, and common areas. The Family Court shall also provide the accused with alternative means of resolving their dispute, such as counseling, recognizance, bail, and the community continuum. These alternatives must be appropriate for the accused’s well-being. A judge may order an exclusion only if no less restrictive option is available or is inappropriate for the particular case.
The Family Court Act, 1984, sets out the procedure to be followed. While the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, governs the civil courts, family court procedures are specifically regulated by the Family Court Act. Therefore, the rules of the Family Court supersede the Civil Procedure Code of Criminal Procedure. These laws govern proceedings in the Family Court, and the civil practice rules are generally more formal than those of the Family Court. It is important to know which procedure is applicable in your state, and when it may be necessary to make changes.
Depending on the situation, the divorce proceeding may require a case conference. This is an opportunity for both spouses to present their case and meet with lawyers. During this meeting, the judge can make procedural orders and consider settlement negotiations. In addition, the parties can make motions, such as preserving property, obtaining exclusive possession of the matrimonial home, or selling assets. If the divorce case goes to trial, the judge may require the parties to attend a hearing, if necessary.