What is a Parenting Order?

A Parenting Order is a document issued by the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court upon application by a parent, grandparent or other person who is concerned with the care, welfare and development of a child.

A Parenting Order, much like a Parenting Plan, deals with issues such as:

  • who a child shall live with;
  • the time a child is to spend with another person;
  • who a child spends time with on special occasions and during holidays;
  • the allocation of parental responsibility for a child;
  • if 2 or more persons are to share parental responsibility for a child — the form of consultations required about decisions;
  • communication between a child and another person;
  • the process to be used for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the order;
  • other aspects of the care, welfare or development of the child or parental responsibility for a child.

Unlike a Parenting Plan, child support matters cannot be included in an Order.

Before making a Parenting Order, the Court must consider the facts and circumstances and ensure the outcome is in the child’s best interests. Please read further information about the factors the court must consider here.

A Parenting Order can be made on an interim basis or on a final basis. An interim Parenting Order only remains in force for a limited period of time, until a subsequent Order is made. A final Parenting Order remains in force until a child turns 18 years old, marries or enters a de facto relationship.

Once a Parenting Order is in place, there are consequences for not complying with your obligations and responsibilities or interfering with another person’s ability to comply with the Order. If you are concerned about non-compliance with a Parenting Order, we suggest you contact us before either party files an Application for a Contravention Order in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court.


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