The topic of parenting orders in WA is significant under family law. When two recently divorced or separated parties are unable to reach agreements about parenting arrangements, they will need to apply for parenting orders in WA.
Subsequently, family courts make parenting orders in WA by considering the best interests of the children involved.
Section 60CC of the Family Law Act (1975) outline the best interests of the child. Under this, the primary considerations include:
- the benefit to the child of having a meaningful and healthy relationship with both parents; and
- the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to family violence, abuse or neglect.
There are several other secondary considerations, some of which include:
- the nature of the relationship between the child and parents;
- the views and opinions of the child
- difficulties and expenses associated with the child spending time with either of the parents, etc.
When going through a breakdown of your relationship, everything might seem confusing and stressful. Each parent will want to finalise custody arrangements. This is complicated because each case is different, with different circumstances.
This is why it is important to know about parenting plans and parenting orders. This article discusses parenting orders in WA by explaining the meaning, and application process.
Parenting Plans Vs Consent Orders
People are often confused about the terms parenting plans, consent orders and parenting orders. Following a divorce or separation where there are children involved, each party should be aware of the meaning of the above mentioned terms.
- Parenting Plans:
When two people get divorced or separate, they are more than capable of reaching agreements around matters like custody, visitation, child support payments etc.
In cases of amicable splits, two parties generally get together to chalk out an efficient plan. This plan can include details about child visitation schedules etc.
To make parenting plans, the two parties need to agree with each other, and they must cooperate with each other. Therefore, parenting plans are possible in cases where parties mutually agree about all parenting matters.
It is important to note that parenting plans are not legally binding. This means that, if one party decides to breach the plan, the other party cannot hold them accountable for their actions.
Therefore, while coming up with parenting plans is cost-effective and hassle-free, it does not necessarily give any certainty to either party.
- Consent Orders:
Consent orders are legally binding court orders. When two parties come up with a mutual parenting agreement, they can make court applications for consent orders.
Essentially, consent orders legalise the existing parenting plan. Through this method, both parties can have certainty about the plans.
Moreover, because consent orders are legally binding, breaching the order will be a punishable offence. It is important for both parties to comply with consent orders.
As a tip, family lawyers always encourage parties who have made parenting plans to apply for consent orders.
Meaning Of Parenting Orders In WA
Courts make parenting orders in cases where two parties are unable to reach agreements. There is a separate application process for parenting orders in WA.
Courts will make parenting orders that are legally binding on all parties involved in a family law matter. These orders are related to parental responsibility allocations.
Parenting orders in WA will cover important matters such as:
- Residence of the child (who the child will live with);
- How parents will make major decisions in the child’s life – short-term and long-term;
- Amount of time the child will spend with each parent, and also with other relatives such as grandparents;
- How the child will maintain communication with non-resident parent, and other relatives like grandparents;
- All matters related to the care, development and welfare of the child.
Courts enforce parenting orders in WA that are legally binding. Both parties will need to comply with these orders.
How To Get Parenting Orders In WA?
Notably, if two parties cannot reach mutual agreements, they need to try family dispute resolution or alternative mediation methods before approaching the Court.
This is because it is important for the parties to show a genuine effort to resolve disagreements through family dispute resolution. Before parties apply for parenting orders, they have to attempt dispute resolution.
This means that when they are applying for parenting orders, they will need a copy of a family dispute resolution certificate. This certificate will demonstrate that the parties had attempted dispute resolution.
An accredited family dispute lawyer, or organisation will provide such a certificate. Parties must submit this certificate along with their application for parenting orders in WA.
The court will then consider the circumstances of the case, and make parenting orders by giving paramount consideration to the best interests of the child.
Importantly, even other relatives of the child can apply for parenting orders. For example, grandparents can apply for such orders as well.
This is because family law in Australia acknowledges the important role that relatives play in the child’s life.
Family Lawyers For Your Legal Needs
People need to complete many legal procedures after a divorce or separation. Matters such as property settlement and child custody can be very contentious.
In case of amicable splits, parties can make their own arrangements. However, many divorce and separation cases are tricky.
To deal with disputes, parties should attend mediation services. JB Solicitors has award-winning mediators in their family law team. Our mediators will take all needed steps to facilitate discussions between two parties.
Moreover, our lawyers also have a wealth of experience in representing clients in family law courts. If you need to approach the court for parenting or property orders, our lawyers are here to provide expert counsel.
We also offer fixed-fee prices for a variety of our family law services. If you have more questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us today.
Contact our friendly lawyers.