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Specialists in child development advise that children benefit from having a meaningful relationship and time with both their parents, but this isn’t always the case, and sometimes the risk of harm to a child for other reasons outweighs any benefit.
WHAT IS A PARENTING DISPUTE?
When parents and other interested parties (extended family and step-parents) disagree about where children live, who they spend time with, what they are exposed to, what they are at risk from, and whether they should get certain health treatments, education, extra-curricular activities and travel overseas, there is then a child-related dispute.
The first step to resolving the dispute is mediation. If this fails, a s60I certificate will issue which enables an application to the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court to investigate and resolve the dispute. In complex cases, often an Independent Children’s lawyer is appointed.
The outcome of a child-related dispute is a parenting plan or a parenting order.
WHICH COURT DEALS WITH PARENTING DISPUTES?
Children’s matters after the separation of parents is governed by the Family Law Act. The same Law applies for married and defacto couples. Both the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia deal with Children’s matters. Both Courts apply the Family Law Act when determining arrangements for children after separation.
What is required before filing a Parenting Dispute in Court?
The Family Law Act 1975 requires a person to make an attempt to resolve disputes about parenting matters using family dispute resolution services before applying to a Court for a parenting order. There are some exceptions to this.
Further information about these requirements, which apply to all courts, can be found at www.familyrelationships.gov.au or by telephoning the Family Relationships Advice line on 1800 050 321.