Applying for a parenting order should only be considered after both parents of a child have made all genuine attempts to resolve a matter on their child but have failed to agree. Parents who are unable to resolve a parenting claim themselves, should first attempt the Family Dispute Resolution process (more information through a previous post here) through private lawyers or through Relationships Australia.

Section 65 of the Family Law Act 1975, states that a court may make any parenting order it considers appropriate for that case, and the court will make their order in the best interests of the child. The court will consider any relevant factors in this decision, with the two most important factors being: protecting the child from physical and psychological harm, including family violence, and the benefit of the child having meaningful relationships with both parents.

 

Who can seek a parenting order?

 

According to section 65C of the Family Law Act, a parenting order may be applied for by:

  • Either or both of the child’s parents; or
  • The child; or
  • A grandparent of the child; or
  • Any other person concerned with the care, welfare, or development of the child.

 

 

When may a person seek a parenting order?

 

According to section 64B(2) of the Family Law Act, a person may seek a parenting order in relation to:

  • The person or persons with whom a child is to live with;
  • The time a child is to spend with another person or persons;
  • The allocation of parental responsibility for a child;
  • The form of consultations persons sharing parental responsibility are to have with one another about decisions of that responsibility;
  • The communication a child is to have with another person or persons;
  • The steps to be taken before an application is made to a court for a variation of the order;
  • The process to be used for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the order; and
  • Any aspect of the care, welfare, or development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child.

 

 

 

 

Parenting issues

 

Relocation

 

If your child primarily lives with you and you need to relocate you should try to decide with the other party involved with the child. If you cannot reach an agreement about relocating, you will need to apply for an order to allow you to move. The court will have to consider what the best interests and welfare of the child are.  If the court determines you are not allowed to move away with the child, and you do move without the consent of the other parent, the court may force you to return with the child until an outcome has been reached.

 

 

 

 

Choice of school for the child

 

If an agreement cannot be reached on where a child is to attend school, the court can make an order for this decision. The court will assess a variety of factors including:

  • The location of the school in relation to each parent’s home, more specifically the child’s primary residence. The case of Allinson & Eadie[1] shows that a court will likely grant an order for a child to attend a school that is closer to the child’s primary residence;
  • Any cultural or religious motivations for a child to attend or not to attend a certain school;
  • The school fees, and the ability of the parents to contribute to those fees;
  • Any wishes of the child to attend a certain school.

 

 

 

Thus, should you have any queries concerning Parenting Orders or Family Law, please contact Matthies Lawyers for an obligation-free consultation or call +61 3 8692 2517 today.

Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and is not intended to be a substitute for obtaining legal advice.

Nicola Maltman – Law Clerk – Matthies Lawyers

 

[1] Allinson & Eadie [2020] FCCA 3558 (16 November 2020).