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Before you Start a Case About Children


From 1 July 2008 parties who are considering applying to a court for parenting orders are required to have considered family dispute resolution options.

The law has changed and with effect from 1 July 2008. A court will be unable to hear an application for parenting orders where it is not accompanied at the time of filing by either:

  • a certificate given to the applicant by a registered family dispute resolution provider; or
  • a duly sworn or affirmed Exemption Form (see downloads).

For information on where to find registered family dispute resolution providers go to the Family Relationships online website at or telephone Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321.


Parties may seek an exemption where:

  1. The court will be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that:
    • there has been child abuse
    • there would be a risk of child abuse
    • there has been family violence
    • there is a risk of family violence; or

  2. The application alleges contravention of a parenting order that was made less than 12 months ago and alleges behaviour that shows a serious disregard of obligations under that order; or

  3. There is urgency; or

  4. Either party is unable to participate effectively in family dispute resolution.

It is recommended you seek legal advice prior to completing an Exemption Form

The July 2007 changes are incorporated in the Case Management Guidelines issued 1 January 2008 (see download).

Last updated: 9-Jul-2014

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