Who can apply for Parenting Orders?

Under s 65D(2) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the court has the power to discharge, vary , or suspend either a parenting order or any part of a parenting order. The Act, however, does not set out an specific grounds for varying a parenting order. Nonetheless, courts are general reluctant to vary parenting orders because of the detrimental effect repeated litigation may have on children.

The leading case on the issue of whether a parenting order should be varied is the Full Court of the Family Court decision of Rice v Asplund. Rice v Asplund is authority for the proposition that in applying to have a parenting order varied, the applicant bears the onus of demonstrating a change in circumstances sufficient to justify re-litigating matters.

Parenting orders cease to have effect upon any of the following terminating events:

  • the child reaching 18 years of age;
  • the child marrying under the age of 18;
  • the child entering into a de facto relationship under the age of 18;
  • the child being adopting; or
  • the child dying.