Parenting Disputes

One of the most distressing and stressful aspects of relationship breakdowns involves negotiating the ongoing care and custody of any children born to the relationship.  It is often the source of significant hostility and dispute between parties, and the decisions you make in this area need to be carefully considered with appropriate professional advice from your CLO lawyer.  

The costs relating to parenting disputes are similar to the costs involved in property disputes.  The range of costs are virtually identical to the range in parenting matters.

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia administers the law relating to parenting orders and custody, and also provides a range of general information for parents who find themselves in a custody related dispute involving their children.  

A summary of the information provided by the Court is listed below for your information, including links to additional information.  Contact CLO Lawyers to discuss your particular circumstances so that we can provide you with professional advice that meets the needs of your situation.    

Parental responsibility and parenting orders

“Each parent has parental responsibility for each of their child/ren until aged 18 years.  Parental responsibility is not affected by changes in the parents' relationship; for example, if you separate or remarry.

Parental responsibility means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation their child/ren (see sections 61B to 61DB of the Family Law Act for details).

Courts make orders about parental responsibilities only if the parents cannot agree about the arrangements for their child/ren, these are called parenting orders.  Courts can also approve and make consent orders to reflect an agreement reached between parties at any time during the court process.”

Before you apply to a court

“Before you can apply to the court for parenting orders, including those seeking to change an existing parenting order you will need to participate in pre-action procedures, including attending a Family Dispute Resolution Conference.

Resolving issues this way is less formal than going to court and should cost less in money, time and emotion. Since both parties are involved in shaping a solution, it improves the chances that an agreement will be long lasting.

If there is a history of family violence or child abuse, it may not be appropriate to attend family dispute resolution.  For information on the pre-action procedures requirements, see the publications:

• Compulsory Family Dispute Resolution – court procedures and requirements

To find a family dispute resolution service provider in your local area, call the Family Relationships Advice Line on 1800 050 321 or go to