Parenting orders

Parenting orders

A parenting order is a court order that sets out who has responsibilities for children. An order can cover:

  • who the children will live with
  • who the children spend time and communicate with
  • any other issues relevant to the care of the children, such as schooling or medical treatment.

If parents or carers cannot agree on arrangements for the care of children, and family dispute resolution has not worked or is not appropriate, then they can apply for a parenting order from a family law court.

Parenting orders can include the process to be used to sort out disagreements about the order later. If there are more than two people sharing parental responsibility, a parenting order can include how they will communicate with each other.

How orders are made

Parenting orders can be made:

When negotiating arrangements for children, or asking a court for a parenting order, it is important to make sure that what you are asking for is workable.

What the court considers

When making a parenting order, the main consideration of the court is whether the proposed arrangements are in the best interests of the children.

The family law courts will look at many different factors, including:

For more information see what the court considers when making a parenting order.

Interim orders

If it is important for a particular issue to be sorted out or the situation is urgent, 'interim' (temporary) parenting orders can be made. These can be altered at any time by the court before or at the final hearing.

You may need an interim order if there:

Parenting orders can affect child support

Changing (or making) parenting arrangements may affect the amount of child support you receive or pay. Get legal advice.