Application for Consent Orders - Children
When parents separate or have separated and there are changes in circumstances, parents should work together to make long-term decisions for the children, decide whom the children live with, spend time with and communicate with. These arrangements are likely to change as the children grow and as circumstances change over the years.
An Application for Consent Orders is used where parents agree on child arrangements. A joint application is filed with the Family Court together with proposed parenting orders that reflect the proposed arrangements.
The Family Court will determine the application administratively. If it is in the best interests of the children and complies with the Family Law Act 1975, the court will make the parenting orders. As the parenting orders are a court order, they should be followed and they are enforceable.
Our family lawyers can provide parenting legal advice, negotiate with the other parent or their family lawyer and prepare an application for consent orders and file it with the Family Court.
What Parenting Arrangements Should We Make?
When making parenting arrangements for children it is important to put the children's best interests first. In Australia, the law puts a particular emphasis on the children benefiting from a meaningful relationship with both parents to the maximum extent that it is in the child's best interests. Any arrangements must protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect, or family violence.
For each child, parents should consider the age, mental maturity, physical maturity, each parent's relationship with the child and the child's relationships with others such as siblings or other family members, each parent's past involvement, how changes will affect the child, the capacity of each parent to provide for the emotional and intellectual needs of the child, the child's needs including health, gender, lifestyle, the child's view and the age at which they express their view, culture including indigenous culture and any other important circumstances and the parent's circumstances when making decisions about child arrangements.
A presumption applies when making parenting orders that both parents have equal shared parental responsibility for children. This means when parenting orders are made, both parents should equally share long-term decisions for the children. Long-term decisions usually include:
Where a child lives and who they live with.
Where a child goes to school and their education.
Whom a child spends time with.
Marriage of a child under 18.
Changing the child's name.
Protecting the child from harm.
Obtaining a child's passport.
Decisions about overseas travel.
Where parents have equal shared parental responsibility, they should make these decisions together. These decisions can be set out in an Application for Consent Orders or they can be left open to the parents to decide together.
While it is presumed to be in the best interests of a child for parents to have equal shared parental responsibility, in some cases, it may be appropriate for one parent to make decisions solely or for an approach where some decisions are shared, and some decisions are made by only one parent.
Whom the Children Live With
If parents have a 50/50 care arrangement the children live with each parent equally. If the children live with one parent more than the other, the children will live with the parent they spend most of their time with and spend time with the other parent.
Spend Time Arrangements
When deciding on parenting arrangements often a 50/50 care arrangement is best, however, if this is not practical (usually due to distance between parents) or in the best interests of the children, then another care arrangement should be made.
In circumstances such as where one parent works long hours or works away from home, or the parents are not nearby, it is likely to be appropriate for children to spend more time with one parent, so they receive adequate and proper parenting and attend school. This does not mean the other parent should be cut out of the child's life or only have weekend time, it means parents should be practical and proactive in ensuring the children get to spend time with both parents.
Our family lawyers are experienced at crafting parenting orders and parenting plans that consider special occasions, the children's needs and the parent's needs.
Children Communicating with Parents
It is important that children and parents communicate when they are not spending time together. Setting up a phone, Facetime or Skype schedule will ensure children get in the habit of communicating with the other parent so they can have the benefit of having that parent interact more regularly in their life.
Contact our experienced and dedicated family lawyers today for your Application for Consent Orders legal services.
More Parenting Options and Information
Having a dispute about children is never easy especially where both parents believe that they are acting in the best interests of the child. There are many options to help parents resolve disputes and help parents come to an agreement which can be found below.
Information about parenting plans to allow parents to reach a written agreement about child arrangements.
Application for Consent Orders to allow parents to receive court orders about child arrangements.
Where parents cannot resolve disputes between them, they can bring proceedings before a court to obtain help to resolve the dispute.
Property settlements can be achieved through alternative dispute resolution, including family law mediation.
When a parent wants to relocate with a child or has already relocated with a child without the other parent's consent.