Child Related Proceedings in the Family Court of WA

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What is a parenting or children’s case?

Parenting cases, or child related proceedings are matters where people seek the help of the Court to resolve a dispute about their rights and obligations towards children.

The other party will not let me see the children or restricts the time I spend with the children. Can I file an application immediately?

No, unless there is some urgency or the child is at risk ,you must try to resolve the dispute first by negotiation or mediation.

Before you can begin a child related proceeding you will need to attend compulsory Family Dispute Resolution. If you are unable to do this you should apply to the Court for an exemption, explaining why you cannot.

What if I can’t reach agreement with the other party?

If you cannot reach an agreement through Family Dispute Resolution, or you are unable to participate in family dispute resolution, you may make an application to the Court after you have been issued with a Certificate stating that the parties could not reach agreement.

How do I make an application to the Family Court

You will need to lodge an application at the Family Court of WA registry.

How does the Court decide what Orders to Make?

The Court’s primary concern when resolving or determining family disputes is to work out what is in the best interests of the child or children. This is not always as easy it might sound. The Court takes a very cautious approach towards making any decisions concerning the children. Any allegations of child abuse are usually thoroughly investigated.

What Orders Will the Court Make?

Section 61DA of the Family Law Act requires a Court, when making a parenting order in relation to a child, to apply a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.

What Does Equal Shared Parental Responsibility Mean?

This means that both parents can make decision about the long term care of the child such as what school they attend, what medical treatment they receive, what religion they practice etc. It does NOT mean shared care.

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