Parenting Matters

This guide is intended to be general in nature, and Commins Hendriks Solicitors recommend you seek legal advice tailored to your needs and specific circumstances. Commins Hendriks’ team of family law professionals can help you with your questions.

In parenting matters, the paramount consideration is what is in the best interests of the children.

Family dispute resolution

Parents who are unable to reach an agreement regarding the parenting arrangements for their children are required (except in specific exempt circumstances) to participate in Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) with an accredited provider. There are registered providers throughout the Riverina and the South West Slopes – please contact the Commins Hendriks Family Law Department for contact details.

The aim of Family Dispute Resolution is for you and your former partner to attempt to come to a resolution regarding the issues between you in terms of the parenting of your children, as opposed to a Court deciding the matter for you. Family Dispute Resolution is confidential.

If you are unable to resolve the matter at Family Dispute Resolution, you will be provided with a Certificate verifying your attendance. This Certificate will need to be attached to your Application, should you proceed with Court proceedings.

Formalising an agreement by consent

If parties are able to reach an agreement by consent, the agreement can be drafted into a Parenting Plan setting out all the necessary details with regards to the care of the children. Such a document is recognised by the Court and in situations where the parties are on reasonably good terms with each other this can be a highly effective and simple manner in which to resolve the dispute.

However parenting plans are not enforceable by the Court. If the parties prefer the agreement to be enforceable, Court Orders are required. Such Orders can be obtained by the Consent of the parties by the filing of an Application for Consent Orders. Our family law department can assist with this Application.

Court proceedings

If no agreement is reached with respect to the children, and a Certificate has been obtained from a Family Dispute Resolution provider (or the matter is urgent in nature), either party is able to commence Court proceedings.

For further information, please refer to the Commins Hendriks Plain English Guide “Disputes Going to Court”. 

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