Victoria Legal Aid

Note that the law is changing on 6 May 2024. We will update this content closer to 6 May 2024.

If you are concerned about your own situation and whether these changes might affect you, please contact us.

A parenting order is a legal order that sets out who has responsibilities for children. It 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 orderfrom 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 practical.

What the court considers

When making a parenting order, the main consideration of the court is whether the suggested arrangements are what is best for the children.

The family law courts will look at many different factors, including maintaining their relationships with important people in their lives.

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 agreement or by the court before or at the final hearing.

You may need an interim order if there is a risk of the child being abducted or relocated before a final hearing can take place.

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.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 04 April 2024

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