It's better to seek agreement with the other parent than seek parenting orders!
Many parents after separation can without assistance reach agreement about parenting their children.
The Family Law Act 1975 requires parents to try to resolve disputes about parenting matters using family dispute resolution services before applying to a court for a parenting order. Parenting plans can be used to record any agreement. A parenting plan is an agreement that is in writing signed and dated and deals with whom a child is to live, the time a child is to spend with another person or other persons and the allocation of parental responsibility for a child.
If parties cannot resolve their dispute through mediation, or family violence makes Family Dispute Resolution unsuitable, an Application to the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court for Parenting Orders may be necessary. Unlike Parenting Plans, Court Orders are enforceable and binding. Parties also have the option of entering into a Court Order by consent, without the need for attendance at Court.
Pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975, when making parenting orders, the paramount consideration of the Court is to make arrangements which are in the best interest of the children. When determining the best interests of the children, the two major considerations will be ensuring the children are protected from physical or psychological harm from being exposed to family violence; and to ensure the children have the benefit of a relationship with both parents. The Court will also take note of a range of other relevant considerations.
Disputes can also arise between parents who have never lived together, and can also involve third parties such as grandparents who have an interest in the care, welfare and development of the children.