After filing for a Divorce in Hong Kong, you will be required to attend the Family Court once the court sets down a hearing, whether it be for a First Appointment (a hearing where the court will be given an update on your case and where a judge give directions to move your case forward) or a more substantive hearing with respect to an application filed by yourself or your ex.
With that in mind, many people ask what they should expect and how to prepare for a Family Court hearing. Here are some tips ahead of your court hearing:
- Where Is The Family Court Located? The Family Court is located in the Wanchai Law Courts at Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road. Prior to attending the court, make sure you know the exact courtroom that you are required to attend and ensure you provide for sufficient time so that you are not late for your hearing. There is a sitting area available at the courthouse whilst you wait for your hearing to begin. However, if you need to have discussions with your solicitor prior to the hearing, plan ahead and go early so you can reserve a conference room pending the commencement of your hearing. The waiting time before your hearing begins could be long so be sure that you have sufficient childcare and/or have informed your employer that you will be away for at least a few hours for your hearing.
- What Should You Wear? This is a frequently asked question and should not be ignored. When you attend a hearing, you will be in front of a District Court judge and it is imperative that you appear presentable. Whilst you are not required to wear a suit and/or tie, it is recommended that you are dressed in smart and respectful attire.
- How Should You Prepare? If you are represented by a solicitor, it will be best for you to have a discussion with your solicitor prior to the hearing. Your solicitor can provide you with a rundown as to what to expect and how the hearing will proceed. Generally speaking, you will not be required to speak directly to the judge if you are represented by a solicitor. However, there may be occasions when a judge will ask you a question directly in court so you should be ready to speak if necessary. If you are attending the court for a more substantive hearing and/or trial and are required to provide testimony, be sure to spend a few hours with your solicitor in advance so that you can be prepared to give oral testimony which your solicitor can assist you with. If there is something you wish the judge to know about your case, speak to your solicitor and ensure that he/she understands what points you want addressed at the hearing (because your solicitor and/or barrister will be the one to present your case to the judge and they will speak on your behalf). If you are representing yourself, be sure to prepare by jotting down on paper, the key points you wish to get across to the court so that when you do present yourself before the judge, your points are clear and concise. Focus on getting the facts across to the judge rather than using it as an opportunity to complain to the judge about your ex.
Finally, try not to be nervous. This is an opportunity for you to be heard at the hearing and if you are represented, trusted that you are in good hands, with a solicitor who is advocating on your behalf.