The parental responsibility for all minors must be shared by the two parents even when their relationship changes. Ideally, it is more favourable if you and your ex-spouse can agree on a good parenting plan without going to the court. This will save you time, money and even emotional strain while ensuring that the best interests of the child are met. Unfortunately, amicable decisions after divorce or separation are not easy, so legal intervention will be necessary. The court can make an official order regarding the parenting responsibilities if you and the other parent cannot agree. This is known as a parenting order and it can be obtained from the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court.

Pre-Action Procedure

If you are planning to apply for a parenting order or even change an existing agreement, you will be required to take part in pre-action procedure. This is a process that attempts to resolve the parenting plan issues before involving the court.  According to the Family Act 1975, you and your ex-spouse will need to visit a registered family dispute resolution expert. If all reasonable attempts to reach to an agreement fail, the practitioner will give you a certificate to present in Court as evidence. However, there are exemptions to the pre-action procedures. For instance, if there is domestic violence or child abuse involved in the case, a delay in obtaining the parenting order could harm the child. You should talk to your lawyer prior to seeing the family dispute professional to create a strategy.

Order Contents

A parenting order outlines the responsibility of each parent as well as other caregivers if applicable. Generally, the court creates a favourable order by ensuring that the arrangement is in the best interest of the minor. In ideal circumstances, the court will ensure that the parenting responsibility is shared equally. However, other factors such as the children's views, financial situation of each parent, family violence allegations and living conditions must be considered. The order will provide details on aspects such as the expected living arrangements, healthcare and schooling responsibilities.

Parenting Order Breaches

When a parenting order is created, it must be followed by every party included in the documentation. Contravention of the order is a serious violation, so there are legal consequences. If the court reckons that you have failed to comply with the established order, the excuse provided will be taken into consideration. In addition, you will need to attend a court hearing and it is advisable to engage a qualified lawyer to defend your actions.

For more information, contact experienced family lawyers in your area.