Applying for a Parenting Order or Order to settle a dispute between Guardians

If you want to apply to the Family Court, you usually need to have attended a Parenting Through Separation course within the last two years and Family Dispute Resolution mediation within the last 12 months.

IF IT’S URGENT - If you need a court decision urgently (without notice), you can make a without notice application. The judge will consider the application straight away. If you think you need urgent help, you may find it helpful to see a lawyer about making an urgent application for you. Find out more about urgent help

You can apply for a Parenting Order if there’s a dispute about who looks after the children and when (day-to-day care) or when parents and others see the children (contact). Day-to-day care used to be called "custody" and contact used to be called "access".

You can apply for an Order to Settle a Dispute between Guardians if you want the Family Court to make decisions about guardianship issues.  These issues include where the children live, where they go to school, medical treatment (other than routine medical matters), what their culture, language and religion will be and any changes to their name.

You can also apply for a Supervised Contact Order

On this page:

Fees for an Order

For a Parenting Order, you’ll need to pay $220 to the court. You can ask the court to waive (cancel) the fee if paying it would cause you financial hardship.

Find out more about getting help to pay the court fees

Applying for an Order to Settle a Dispute between Guardians is free.

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Court costs

You and the other people involved in your case may have to pay some of the court costs.

Find out more about Cost Contribution Orders

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How to apply for an Order

How to apply

  1. Fill in one of these forms:
  2. Choose whether you’re applying on notice or without notice. Choose without notice if violence is involved. Then a judge will look at the application and decide whether to make the Order straight away before the other person gets to have their say. If you apply on notice, the other person gets the chance to respond to your application before the court makes the Order.
  3. File your application. You can do this yourself or ask a lawyer to do it for you.

    Find out more about how to file documents

If you need help to fill in the forms, you can call us or visit your local court

Find out more about affidavits and statutory declarations 

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How long the Order lasts

How long an Order lasts depends on the type of Order that the court makes.

  • A Final Order means that the court has made a decision and the court process has ended. A Final Order usually lasts until a child turns 16, or until one of the people involved asks the court to change (vary) or cancel (discharge) the Order.
  • The court will make an Interim Order if someone makes an urgent application (without notice). An Interim Order usually lasts until:
    • a set date, or
    • a particular event happens (for example, a parent leaves the country or the court makes a Final Order), or
    • the court says the Order stops.

    If you think you need urgent help, you may find it helpful to see a lawyer about making an urgent application for you.