Apply for a Parenting Order or Order to Settle Dispute

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Orders you can apply for

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.

Apply for an Order to Settle a Dispute between Guardians if you want the Family Court to make decisions about guardianship issues, like 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

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Fees

For a Parenting Order, you’ll need to pay $220 to the court. You can ask the court to waive (cancel) the fee. This means you won’t have to pay the fee.

Find out more about getting help to pay the court fees

It’s free to apply for an Order to Settle a Dispute between Guardians.

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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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Forms

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

  1. For a Parenting Order, fill in this form: Parenting Order (external link)
    You’ll need to select ‘Parenting Order’ in the first box and ‘Make a new order’ in the second box.

    For an Order to Settle a Dispute between Guardians, fill in this form: Settle a Dispute between Guardians (external link)
    You’ll need to select ‘Settle a dispute between guardians’ in the first box and ‘Make a new order’ in the second box.

    Choose if you’re applying on notice or without notice. Choose without notice if violence is involved. The application will be looked at by a judge, who will 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 will be given the chance to respond to your application before the court makes the Order.

  2. File your application. You need to do this yourself. You can’t get a lawyer to file an application for a Parenting Order or an Order to Settle a Dispute between Guardians.
    Find out more about how to file documents

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If it’s urgent

If a decision needs to be made urgently (without notice), you can make a without notice application. The judge will look at the application straight away, and if they decide there are good reasons to do so, they can make an Interim Order before the other person gets to have their say. If they don’t think there are good reasons to make an order straight away, they will direct that the application is placed on notice, which means that the other person will get a copy of the application and will be able to respond before an order can be made.

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

Find out more about urgent help

Find out more about when you can use lawyers in the Family Court

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How long the Order lasts

How long an Order lasts depends on the type of Order that’s made:

  • 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 1 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 will generally last until a set date, a particular event happens (like 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 want to see a lawyer about making an urgent application for you.

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What the Family Court can do if someone doesn’t follow a Court Order

If someone is not following an Order, you can ask the Family Court to take action

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