If you cannot agree over the living arrangements of the child/ren, and want the Court to be involved, then an Application for Parenting Orders must be made to either the Local Court, Family Court or Federal Circuit Court. However, before applying for any Parenting Orders you must invite the other party to participate in mediation. If the invitation is accepted, then both parties must pursue mediation with view to reaching an agreement. If no agreement can be reached, or if the invitation to mediation is not accepted, then an application for Parenting Orders can be made to Court.
If you require Orders urgently, our lawyers will apply for Interim Orders for you immediately. If it is not urgent, a Directions Hearing or Case Assessment Conference will be allocated about 6 weeks from the date of the filing of the Application.
Prior to a Case Assessment Conference and/or Directions Hearing, both parents will generally be required to attend mediation with a Family Court Family Consultant to attempt to reach an agreement. Both parties are also required to attend an information session at the Family Court. This information session is conducted by a Court Officer. He/she will explain the Court proceedings, including the cost and time involved of the court action. Immediately following the information session you and your lawyer will be required to attend a Case Assessment Conference. This is conducted by a Registrar and a Family Court Family Consultant in matters involving only children's issues.
If an agreement is reached by the parents, the Court can make Consent Orders in accordance with your agreement. Our Family Law lawyers can assist in preparing the Consent Orders on your instruction. If agreement has not been reached after Case Assessment Conference, the Court will make directions for the ongoing conduct of your matter.
If the matter is conducted in the Family Court, the hearing will take place in a different format to the past. On the first day of hearing, the parties address the Judge directly and explain from their point of view what concerns them, the proposals they have and why, or what they consider to be the issues. From this the Judge determines what issues need to be determined in order to decide the matter, and how evidence will be given.
Note: It is only a minority of parents who cannot agree on arrangements for their children and find it necessary to make an Application to a Court to decide.
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