Parenting orders are issued by the court stipulating for arrangements involving the children.

Generally a parenting order provides for the care, support and welfare of the child.

A parenting order also includes:

  • Where the child will live and with whom
  • Who the child will spend time with
  • Child support and maintenance
  • Specific concerns like education, holidays, sports activities
  • Parental responsibility like decision making
  • Means of communication between the parties
  • Procedure to follow regarding application for change of orders

The issuance of a parenting order necessarily includes giving both parties equal shared parental responsibility. The exceptions are when there is family violence or it would not be in the best interests of the child.

Equal time spent with the parents may not always be possible. Courts will then decide if spending ‘substantial and significant’ time with the children will be in their best interests. Substantial and significant time includes:

  • Weekends, holidays, weekdays
  • Time that gives a parent participation in a child’s normal day
  • Occasions that are special to both parent and child like birthdays, graduations and the like

Parenting orders may be applied for by the parents (including same sex parents), grandparents, relatives or anyone concerned for the child’s welfare. Usually, the requirement in applying for a parenting order is that the parties must first undergo a family dispute resolution.

During trial or hearing a party may apply for interim orders about matters that involve the children and which cannot wait until the end of trial. In issuing interim orders, the court will usually entertain only those important and urgent matters.

An example is applying for in injunction to stop a parent from taking a child overseas. In filing an application for an interim order, the following must be indicated in the application: ‘That this case be deemed urgent and that all times be abridged’. An affidavit attesting to the urgency of the matter must be attached to the application.    

You need to explain why your case should be heard urgently. This is done in an affidavit. Both courts have affidavit forms you can use.

Varying Parenting Orders

Section 60CC(3) (l) of the family Act requires the court to consider whether it would be preferable to make an order that would be least likely to lead to the institution of further proceedings when determining the best interests of a child. This is to avoid parties being involved in repeated litigation. Parties who have been involved in prior proceedings, who are seeking to effectively re-open a matter through a fresh application for final orders must demonstrate a material change in circumstances



Alan Weiss

20th March, 2020

Alan Weiss developed after he experienced himself how devastating divorce proceedings can be. I witnessed firsthand my own future security, and that of my familys, being destroyed by acrimonious and costly divorce litigation. I created to help people avoid an experience like this and lose thousands of dollars. Instead the system will assist them in getting on with their lives.