Process overview - text only

This is an accessible text-only version of the process overview map presented on the Care of Children landing page.

General information

The Family Court will tell you if you can have a lawyer at Court. The Court may also appoint a Lawyer for the Child. You may need to pay for some of these costs.

Find out if you can get legal aid or use the Family Legal Advice Service.

Call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) for more information.

A Parenting Order is when the Court makes a decision about your children’s care arrangements.

Option 1 - Need an urgent decision from the Court?

Step 1

Apply to the Court for a Without Notice Parenting Order (for example, if there are time or safety risks).

The Court may decide your case is not urgent and you need to go to either Option 2 or Option 3

Step 2

In 24 hours

The court processes your application and makes a temporary Parenting Order. The Order will tell you what the next steps are; OR

Step 3

The Court can ask for more information and set up a date and time for your Court appearance. You will receive a copy of the other parent’s response.

Step 5

Go to Court.

Step 6

If agreement is reached the Court can make a Final Parenting Order.

Step 7

The Court will tell you if you need to pay any costs and send you the Order.

The process ends here; OR

Step 8

If agreement is not reached the Court can schedule another court appearance.

Step 9

Go to Court.

Step 10

If agreement is not reached the Court can make a temporary order to be reviewed at a later date.

Go back to step 4; OR

Step 11

The Court can make a Final Parenting Order.

Step 12

The Court will tell you if you need to pay any costs and send you the Order.

The process ends here.

Back to top

Option 2 - Agree about your children’s care together?

Step 1

Record your agreement in a parenting plan.

This is called a private agreement.

Step 2

You can go to the free Parenting Through Separation course to help resolve your disagreements.

The process ends here if you agree.

There is an Optional Step to apply to the Court to turn your private agreement into a consented Parenting Order.

The Court will formalise your agreement.

This means that your agreement is enforceable.

The process ends here.


Step 3

Go to mediation.

Family Dispute Resolution can help you both reach an agreement when you still disagree.

You might be able to get subsidised or free mediation.

Step 4

If you agree, you can record your agreement in a parenting plan.

This is called a private agreement.

There is an Optional Step to apply to the Court to turn your private agreement into a consented Parenting Order.

The Court will formalise your agreement.

This means that your agreement is enforceable.

The process ends here.


Step 5

If you don’t agree go to Option 3.

Back to top

Option 3 - Ask the Court to resolve your disagreement if you can’t agree together (not urgent)?

Step 1

Apply to the Court for an On Notice Parenting Order; OR

If your case is now urgent, go to Option 1.

Step 2

The Court processes your application. It gives a copy to the other parent to respond and tells you what to do next and by when.

Step 3

The Court sets down a date and time for your court appearance. You will receive a copy of the other parent’s response.

Step 4

Go to Court.

Step 5

If agreement is reached the Court can make a Final Parenting Order.

Step 6

The Court will tell you if you need to pay any costs and send you the Order.

The process ends here; OR

Step 7

If agreement is not reached the Court can schedule another court appearance.

Go back to Step 3; OR

Step 8

The Court can make a Final Parenting Order.

Step 9

The Court will tell you if you need to pay any costs and send you the Order.

The process ends here.

Back to top