Once final parenting orders are made, either by way of consent between the parents or a determination made by the Court following a final hearing, these are required to be complied with until the child/ren attain the age of 18 years, when the child/ren will then be legally recognised as adults.
Final parenting orders are difficult to alter, unless otherwise agreed between the parents, as in the Court’s view, subjecting a child or children to ongoing litigation is not in their best interest. The Court’s paramount concern is always what is in the best interest of the children.
During the negotiation phase of entering into a parenting arrangement with the other parent, or throughout Court proceedings (which is based on the situation and the known circumstances of the parents and chil/dren at the time), it is often difficult for parties to foresee the long-term future and effect of any parenting orders made, particularly with infant or young children.
However, there are circumstances which the Court recognises due to changing family arrangements or changes over time that occur as the child/ren grow up that gives rise to seeking a variation to parenting orders.
If parties are unable to agree to altering the parenting orders between themselves by consent (and the parties have attempted Family Dispute Resolution), then an application to the Court is required.
The first threshold a party seeking to alter parenting orders must satisfy is that there is a significant change in circumstances, which is considered by the Court on a case-by-case basis.
What is considered a significant change in circumstances?
A significant change in circumstances may include any of the following:-
- Serious health issues;
- Criminal charges;
- Successful rehabilitation from former mental health problems; and
- Re-marriage or re-partnering.
If you believe the circumstances of your life has changed enough to justify the variation of existing parenting order or want more information about changing parenting orders, contact our specialist family law solicitors at 02 8917 8700 to obtain practical solutions.