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Interim v Final Parenting Orders

All parties to family law proceedings, whether they are commenced in the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court, must file an Application or a Response to the other party’s Application, setting out the orders they are asking the court to make. This incudes the orders they want the court to make on an interim basis and on a final basis. The court can make both interim and final parenting orders after a contested hearing or by agreement between the parties (consent orders).

Interim Orders

Interim Orders are temporary orders made by the court until Final Orders can be made. The nature of the family law system means that most parties will wait 12 months or longer for a Final Hearing. Therefore, parties often require parenting orders to be made prior to a Final Hearing.

Interim Parenting Orders often made by the court include the following:

  • The allocation of parental responsibility, including whether one parent has sole parental responsibility for making decisions relating to the care, welfare and development of the children or whether parental responsibility is to be equally shared between the parties;
  • With which parent the children shall live and the amount of time they will spend with the other parent, including time during the week, on weekends, during special occasions and during the school holiday periods;
  • The frequency of communication between the children and the parents;
  • For the parties to attend upon a family consultant for the preparation of a family report;
  • For a party to be restrained from doing something, for example, taking the children interstate;
  • For a party to undergo drug testing; or
  • For the parties to undertake and complete a post-separation parenting program.

When making orders relating to children, whether they are interim or final orders, the court must make orders that are in the best interests of the children.

Final Orders

Final orders conclude the proceedings and they are final. However, it should be noted that this does not mean that orders will necessarily last until the children turn 18. Both parents will always retain the capacity to apply for a change to the orders in the event that circumstances change. For example, if the orders are five years old, meaning the children are five years older than when the orders were made, then a parent may apply for further orders seeking that the children spend more time with them.

Orders cannot, however, be changed within 12 months of the date they were made, unless there has been a significant change in circumstances.

The types of final orders the court can make include orders for who has parental responsibility, orders for with whom the children shall live and how often they will spend time with the other parent and how the parties are to communicate with the children.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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