Is It Possible to Alter an Existing Parenting Order?

When two parties are in dispute following separation and children are involved, a family court will be very careful to look after the interests of the youngsters. They may intervene where no agreement is likely and insist that parenting orders are put in place going forward. These orders will typically be based on an assessment of the situation on the day that the case is in front of the court. However, what will happen if circumstances change in the future?

Parenting Orders

Typically, parenting orders will dictate what each adult has to do in order to look after the welfare of the child. The orders may specify how often the child needs to visit each adult or how long they need to stay at each home, while they may also outline how financial affairs are to be addressed. Other specific details may be included based on an analysis of the situation on that day.

Times Can Change

However, circumstances can change, and this may make it difficult for one or both of the adults to comply with the parenting orders. Alternatively, one adult may repeatedly fail to comply with some of the orders without having a valid excuse.

Threshold Test

Before the court considers adjusting a valid parenting order, they'll want to determine the nature of the issue and whether it is unusual or not. In other words, if circumstances have changed due to something natural or predictable, then they may just consider this to be outside of their jurisdiction. Often, they may apply a test to the situation to see if it meets a threshold before thinking about a variation in the interests of the child.

Contravention Order

If one of the adults is in contravention of an order, however, then the court may well consider the situation and could apply sanctions. They could vary the order so that the child spends more time with the other parent, but this will only be done where it is seen as in the best interests of the youngster.

Mutual Consent

It may be possible for the two individuals to agree to a path forward and to make alterations informally through mutual consent. If this is done within the spirit of the parenting orders, then it would be acceptable, but again, the interests of the offspring are always paramount.

Moving Forward

If you're the subject of one or more parenting orders and believe that a change is necessary, talk this through with a qualified family lawyer first. They will be able to give you direction and, if necessary, prepare an application for the court.

To learn more about family law, contact a lawyer.