Do you want to change a parenting order?
Once parenting orders are made by the court, they cannot be changed except by consent of the parties or if the court determines that it is appropriate to change the order.
For the courts to change a parenting order, without consent of the other party, you will need to show that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order was made, as determined in the case of Rice & Asplund.
The courts are generally reticent to reopen parenting matters and change a parenting order unless there is a good reason for doing so and it is in the children’s best interests.
Case Study – Rice & Asplund
In the pivotal case of Rice & Asplund (1979), final Parenting Orders were made by the court for a three year old child to live with the father. Nine months after the Orders were made the mother applied to the court to vary the Orders, seeking for the child to live with her and spend time with the father.
After the earlier Parenting Order was made, the mother obtained stable accommodation and also remarried. The child was furthermore due to commence school. The court assessed that the change in the mother’s circumstances in conjunction with the fact that the child was about to commence school, was a significant change in circumstances sufficient to justify varying the previous Order. The court went on to state that given this significant change in circumstances the previous Orders were ‘unworkable and unrealistic’. The mother’s application to vary the parenting orders was granted.
What should I do if I want to change a parenting order?
If you are seeking a change to a parenting order, you will need to first attempt to negotiate those changes with your former partner.
By negotiating an agreement out of court, you will be able to avoid costly and lengthy litigation.
If an agreement is able to be reached, that agreement can be formalised by a consent order, filed with the family court of Australia.
If an agreement to change a parenting order is not forthcoming, you will need to file an application to the federal circuit court seeking a change to the parenting orders, and you will need to satisfy the court that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the parenting order was made.
At Barton Family Lawyers, we assist our client’s to negotiate and formalise final parenting agreements, through alternative dispute resolution and we recommend court action only as a last resort.
Wondering whether you have a case for a change to your final parenting orders?
Contact our Petrie family law expert Courtney Barton for advice in relation to the specific circumstances of your case and take advantage of our complimentary first consultation, free of charge.
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