What does the court take into account when determining parental arrangements?

Applications for Parenting Orders can be brought by either or both parents, a grandparent, or any other significant person in a child’s life.

Initially the party seeking a Parenting Order is required to attend, participate in, and make a genuine attempt to resolve any parenting issues at a family dispute resolution conference. Following such a conference a certificate is issued to the parties to reflect the outcome.

If agreement can be reached as between the interested parties then same can be formalised through an Application for Consent Orders. If agreement is not reached then further negotiations can be undertaken with the assistance of a solicitor, mediator, or counsellor.

Should there still be no resolution of the matter then an application can be brought in the court. Such an application requires confirmation from the parties that they have attempted to resolve their dispute and are in receipt of the certificate referred to above. There are however exceptions to the commencement of court proceedings in the absence of such a certificate.

In such court proceedings it is of course the best interests of the child that are of paramount importance. Section 60B of the Family Law Act 1975 provides that the best interests of the child are met by:

  • Ensuring that the child has the benefit of both parents having a meaningful involvement in their life, to the maximum extent consistent with the best interests of the child; and

  • Protecting the child from physical and psychological harm and from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence; and

  • Ensuring that the child receives adequate and proper parenting to help them achieve their full potential; and

  • Ensuring that parents fulfil their duties and meet their responsibilities concerning the care, welfare and development of the child.

There are also additional factors that the court will consider on a case-by-case basis. Once the matter is in the court system it can be finalised by either Consent (i.e. agreement as between the parties) or by final Orders of the Court (i.e. by the determination of the judge).


Brydens Lawyers are experts in in helping you with all family court proceedings including applications for Parenting Orders. For specialist advice and representation with respect to all family law matters contact Brydens Lawyers on 1800 848 848 or at brydens.com.au. At Brydens Lawyers #WE DO family law.