Sorting Out My Parenting Matter

22 August 2021

Unfortunately, if parents separate and cannot agree on the care arrangements for their children, they may need to apply to the Family Court in one of two ways: Without Notice Applications, or On Notice Applications.

Without notice applications are made when there are urgent and grave risks to children. This might be needed when children are exposed to family violence, alcohol or drug use, or neglect.

If you make a without notice application, the application is dealt with urgently and a decision from a judge should be made on the same day. The other party involved will not find out about the application until a decision has been made by a judge.

For this reason, if you apply you will need to show there is a risk of serious injury, undue hardship or risk to the personal safety of you or a child. The risk needs to be serious enough to justify the Court making a decision without first hearing from the other party.

If the disagreement is not urgent, you can make an on notice application to the Family Court. To reduce the number of cases going through the Family Court, before you can apply on notice you must attend mediation and parenting through separation courses.

Mediation involves both parties meeting with an independent trained professional who will try and help you reach agreement about the care arrangements for the children. If the mediation is successful, you won’t need to apply to the Family Court. If the mediation is unsuccessful, you will receive a certificate to say that you have attended. You must have attended mediation within the last 12 months before you can apply on notice for a parenting order.

Parenting Through Separation are courses designed to give parents information and support to help them make good decisions about the care of their children. You must have attended one of these courses within the last two years before you can apply on notice for a parenting order.

If your matter is not sorted out at mediation and you have attended a Parenting Through Separation Course, you can then apply on notice to the Family Court.

If you need information about mediators and Parenting Through Separation courses in your area, you should contact your local Family Court.

Please contact Norris Ward McKinnon if you need any assistance with your parenting matter.

Jamie Blackburn is part of our Family Disputes team at Norris Ward McKinnon.