Children and Parenting Matters – Eligibility

If you are a parent considering divorce from your spouse, your first priority should be to ensure any children from the relationship are adequately cared for. The court will need to be satisfied with arrangements made for your children, although a binding order isn’t necessary if both parents are in agreement regarding the child’s best interests. You can opt for a verbal agreement, a drawn-up parenting plan or legally binding parenting orders established by the court, depending on your relationship with your former partner and your child’s needs.

Who is eligible to apply for a change to parenting orders?

Either parent (or guardian) is eligible to apply for a change to parenting orders. Changing orders may not be necessary if you and your former spouse or partner simply agree in writing to alter the parenting arrangements. The legislation provides that a parenting order is taken to include provisions of a parenting plan entered into subsequent to the parenting orders being made.  This allows parenting orders to be changed easily by consent, and without approaching the Court. However, if you are considering changing the terms of the orders pursuant to a parenting plan, you should seriously consider obtaining legal advice.  Changing orders is a technical issue.

Regardless of the pathway you choose to establish a safe and secure future for your child, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced Family Law professional at Taylor & Scott Lawyers from the outset. This will ensure your parenting plan is comprehensive and parenting orders are established taking your input into consideration.

How can you apply to change parenting orders?

The future isn’t known, and relationships and personal circumstances change and evolve over time. There may come a time when established parenting orders no longer reflect the children’s best interests, and you may need to apply to change parenting orders. There are two methods of changing parenting orders:

  • Agree to changes in consultation with your former partner (or guardian) affected by the order, and apply to the court for consent orders that reflect the changes, or
  • Prepare an updated parenting plan together that outlines changes and establishes a new set of agreements. The parenting plan must be signed by both parties.

Your parenting plan is important. It should be designed to assist you and your former partner or spouse in understanding the values and intentions involved in raising your child until he or she turns 18. Parenting orders and parenting plans deal with matters such as:

  • Who the child will live with;
  • Allocation of parental responsibility;
  • Amount of time the child spends with each parent;
  • Maintaining the child’s relationships with other relatives;
  • Communication between the child and parent when they are not together; and
  • Any other aspect of care, welfare and development of the child.

What can you do if there is a dispute with existing orders?

In cases where agreement can’t be reached, or if there is a dispute between you and your former partner regarding existing orders, the court can make a parenting order decision for you. Your initiating application to court must be accompanied by a Section 60i Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) certificate. Notice of the application is then served on the other person, giving them an opportunity to present their view of the situation. The court then takes evidence, professional reports and witness statements into account before making a ruling in consideration of the best interests of the child.

What Family Law issues can Taylor & Scott help with?

Taylor & Scott Lawyers include accredited Family Law specialists with the knowledge and expertise to help you negotiate this difficult time. We can assist you in establishing a satisfactory parenting plan that carries weight when applying for binding parenting orders at a later date if required. We save you money by avoiding lengthy and costly court proceedings, and allow you to focus on your child’s welfare while undergoing transition toward a new family dynamic.

Family Law doesn’t tell parents how to look after their children. However, it does state that both parents share parental responsibility for the care and welfare of their children, including decisions that affect the child’s future. It can be difficult making arrangements that are in the best interests of the child during uncertain times, and if you need assistance to help sort things out, Taylor & Scott Lawyers are here to help.

At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.