Mediation required before going to court
A FAMILY law Court has the jurisdiction to make parenting orders in favour of a parent, child, grandparent or any person interested in the "care, welfare or development of the child”.
The paramount consideration of the Court when making parenting orders is to ensure that the orders are in the best interests of the child.
The Family Law Act sets out a number of considerations that the Court must have regard to when deciding what orders to make.
The primary considerations for the Court are the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents and the need to protect the child from harm (physical or psychological).
Protection from harm is the most important consideration for a Court making a parenting order.
The Court also considers a number of other factors relevant to the particular situation including any views expressed by the child (depending on the child's age and maturity), the willingness and ability of the parents to foster the relationship between the child and the other parent, the capacity of the parents to provide for the child's needs and any family violence issues (including protection orders made). These are just some of the many factors that a Court weighs up when determining what orders to make for the parenting of the child.
Before any proceedings are commenced in a Court for parenting orders, the Family Law Act requires the parties to make a genuine attempt to resolve the issues themselves, with the assistance of a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner.
This dispute resolution is compulsory, unless it is not appropriate for a mediation to proceed due to family violence, abuse or if the matter is deemed urgent.
The mediation is an opportunity for separated parents, grandparents or other persons who are concerned with the care, welfare and development of the child to discuss and try to resolve the parenting arrangements by agreement and without the need to go to Court.
Seeing a solicitor does not mean you will end up in Court. Often obtaining legal advice can assist you to understand the process which may help you to resolve the parenting arrangements yourself.