Children have the right to talk to and spend time with their parents and other people important to them including:
- uncles and aunts.
- other relatives.
- unrelated people who are important to them.
Anyone important to the children’s welfare can be included in a parenting plan, consent Order or can apply to the Court for a parenting Order.
The law encourages parents and other people interested in the children’s welfare to try and agree on arrangements for them. If they can’t reach an agreement, they may have to try family dispute resolution.
If family dispute resolution fails, a person can apply to Court for a parenting Order.
Parenting Orders and consent Orders are legally binding and there may be serious penalties if Orders are breached.
You can apply for a parenting Order for a child if you’re their parent, grandparent or any other person concerned with their welfare.
When the Court is making a parenting Order the children’s best interests are the main consideration. This includes relationships with other people (eg grandparents or other relatives).
Before applying for a parenting Order, you must participate in family dispute resolution. There are some exceptions, for example, where there is (or a risk of) family violence or child abuse.
If you apply for a parenting Order you may have a meeting with a family consultant to discuss your application before an Order is made. This is to discuss the arrangements that you want and to help you understand the effects of the proposed Order.
A parent applying for parenting Orders can ask the Court to include who the child will spend time with, like their grandparents, other relatives, or important people to them.
Culture and tradition
If children are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, the Court must also consider their right to enjoy their own culture, including spending time with other people from the same cultural background.
A parenting plan is a signed written agreement between parents setting out arrangements for the children’s care. It can include other people important to the children’s care, such as grandparents or other relatives. Both parents must participate in the parenting plan process.
A consent Order is a written agreement (or parenting plan) made with the agreement of both parents and other people involved, and is approved by the Court. It can include other people important to the children’s care, such as grandparents or other relatives. A consent Order has the same legal force as other Court Orders. Both parents must be part of any consent Order in relation to the children.
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