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Under Australian law, The Family Court issues orders that govern arrangements made for children in the aftermath of divorce between the parents. Top family lawyers will explain that the primary objective of parenting orders is to ensure the welfare and well being of the child.

An individual is considered a child until the age of 18. Parenting orders usually involve equal share parenting directives whereby each parent will have an equal say in major issues impacting the child. Parenting orders are in place to ensure that parenting does not get adversely affected due to separation or divorce.

The issues covered in parenting orders could include:

  • The parent who the child will live with
  • Education and health
  • Visiting hours and how much time the child will spend with each parent
  • Mode of communication between the child and the parent that the child will not live with
  • Allocation of other parental responsibilities (for example, picking and dropping of children from school and so on)

However, sometimes, you may disagree with certain arrangements or may be unable to comply with the directives issued by Family Court. For example, you may be obliged to travel out of the country at certain times on business. Alternatively, if your work schedule is demanding, you may wish to spend significant time rather than opt for a certain number of hours. Significant time includes quality of time spent rather than the number of hours.

In case any one or both parties wish to request for changes, they must participate in certain pre-action procedures including informal resolution of issues with the help of mediators. For the Family Court to accept any changes to parenting orders, the suggested changes must be geared towards the welfare of the child. If the court feels that the changes are not in the best interests of the child, they will reject the request. Similarly, any party found to be in violation of parenting orders may be fined or may face punitive action under Australian law.

The parent who wishes to apply for changes to parenting orders will need to begin the procedure by filling in a form known as the ‘Initiating Application’. This form can be pre-filled online. The next step will involve the consent of the other party.

In such cases, parents should not make any changes to parenting orders on their own. In case, you wish to request for any changes, you need to make a formal application to the court. Family Courts issue parenting orders in the event that the divorced spouses are unable to agree on their mutual parenting responsibilities. Parenting orders are formulated with thoughtful care regarding the financial resources, income and capability of each parent.