Parenting Orders are a formal record of the terms of a parenting agreement reached between parents. These can be helpful where a formal framework is needed to make binding orders to ensure compliance from both parents.
Parenting plans are another way to formalise a parenting agreement. Parenting plans are different from parenting orders because they are informal, flexible, and unenforceable. Family dispute resolution is a compulsory process (in most situations) that facilitates dispute resolution outside of the court system with the assistance of a neutral third party. There are many advantages of family dispute resolution, including the impartial, informal, and inexpensive nature of the procedure – however it is important to note that any agreement reached will not be legally binding, unless the parties engage in consent orders or a financial agreement.
In regard to the rights of grandparents, the court recognises the importance of their role, and they are thus welcome to make an Application to the Court for Parenting Orders. Further, child support is an additional process by which a parent or non-parent carer may apply for an administrative assessment of child support to be paid by a parent for a child. This amount payable is based on actual costs of the children, the capacity of both parents to meet such costs and time the parents have with the child.
Child support is assessed by the Child Support Agency. It is an administrative process separate to parenting proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
Under the Child Support Assessment Act, a parent or a non-parent carer of a child may apply for an administrative assessment of child support to be paid by a parent for a child. Parent is defined as including an adoptive parent and a parent of a child born by means of artificial conception.
An application may be made by phone to the Child Support Registrar, online through the Department of Human Services website or in writing by completing an “Application for Child Support Assessment” form. Once an application is accepted, the Child Support Registrar will send the parties a notice of child support assessment showing the amount assessed and how it was calculated. Child Support is assessed at an annual rate, payable monthly, and ends when the child turns 18 or becomes “a member of a couple” or on other terminating events such as adoption.
When a relationship breaks down, it is a difficult time for everyone involved. It is even harder when there are children involved as parents need to negotiate the arrangements that are in the best interests of the children.
There are a couple of ways to formalise a parenting agreement reached between parents, one of them by entering into a Parenting Order (Consent Order). This is a formal record of the terms of the agreement reached in relation to the children, which is filed with the Court and issued as a formal Court Order. There are heavy penalties if you breach a Parenting Order, which can even include imprisonment in severe cases.
Another way to formalise a parenting agreement reached between parents is to enter into a Parenting Plan. What to put in a parenting plan – Like a Consent Order, a Parenting Plan can incorporate the same arrangements as reflected above under the Parenting Orders section.
Grandparents rights in Australia: how can grandparents get visitation rights?
Often in a separation, especially in high conflict matters, one parent will withhold time between the children and the Grandparents of their former spouse. Consequently, a previously loving relationship can suffer through no fault of the Grandparents.
The Family Law Act recognises the importance of the role that Grandparents play in children’s lives and the impact a separation can have on that relationship. As a result, s60B of the Family Law Act has specifically included reference to children having a right to spend regular time with and communicate with Grandparents, as long as it is in the children’s best interests.
Often families going through a separation do not know where to start when it comes to resolving their disputes. Family Dispute Resolution can assist with this process to help families come to agreement without going to Court.
If you seek to relocate and take your child or children with you, then you need the permission of the other parent to do so.
The purpose of the Family Law Act, except in genuine cases of violence or child abuse, is to see that children have the benefit of both parents having a meaningful involvement in their lives, and that parental responsibility is equally shared. Parental responsibility means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children. Parents are legally responsible for their children until a parenting order or plan provides otherwise. The court will apply a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for a child’, unless the presumption can be rebutted (for example, on grounds of family violence or child abuse). Where a child lives is a long-term decision that should be made by both parents in the exercise of their joint parental responsibility.