During a family separation, there may be difficulties associated with a parent spending time with their child who lives with the estranged partner. Clearly, this can be a very frustrating and stressful experience. An interim parenting order may be necessary to ensure time spent with the child is maintained, only after such time that compulsory family dispute resolution (such as mediation), has taken place between the parties.
Whilst it is hoped that parenting disputes can be resolved at mediation, if this is not the case, in certain circumstances you must obtain a Family Dispute Resolution certificate (also known as a Section 60I certificate) prior to applying for an interim parenting order.
However, you will be exempt from providing a certificate in particular circumstances. For example if the matter is urgent, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe there has been, or there is a risk of abuse or of family violence, and if you live in an isolated area and/or are unable to participate in mediation.
Any decision made by the Court in regard to an initiating application for an interim parenting order, is governed by the Family Law Act (1975). The Act imbues a fundamental principle – that a court must regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration. This principle also extends to a presumption within the Act, that unless rebutted, it is in the best interests of the child to have equal shared responsibility with both parents.
Section 60CC of the Family Law Act sets out the relevant primary and secondary factors which the court must examine when making any parenting order. The primary consideration regarding interim proceedings is the benefit of the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents.
Secondary considerations include the practical reality and expense of a child spending time with, and communicating with a parent and whether those financial or practical difficulties will substantially affect a child’s right to maintain a relationship and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis.
Clearly, preparing any interim or final parenting order is a complex process which must be approached with an
understanding of the underlying intent of the family law legislation. At Everingham Solomons we have the expertise and experience to assist you with parenting orders because Helping You is Our Business.
Click here to learn more about Sophie Newham.