The Government will reform Family Law on parenting orders to improve enforcement and to promote more effective action in the best interests of children.
A multi-tiered approach to the enforcement of parenting orders, implementing a report by the Family Law Council, will enhance the powers of the Family Court.
Under the new arrangements parties, at the time of separation, will be encouraged to seek assistance to improve communication between each other and their understanding of their joint parenting responsibilities in the best interests of the children.
Children should not suffer the consequences of adults being unable to communicate.
If that step is not effective, and the order is not complied with, the court will be able to direct parents to attend relationship programs designed to assist them to resolve issues of conflict about parenting.
As a final resort, where this intervention is not effective, and there is continued deliberate failure to comply with the parenting order, the court will continue to be able to impose punitive sanctions, ranging from an order for community services, a fine, a change in the parenting order to, finally, a term of imprisonment.
The court will have an obligation to inform parents of their responsibilities and the services available to help them and their children.
The Government is currently funding a pilot program to improve awareness of family relationship support programs and advise which services are most appropriate and effective to help people with communication problems.
Read the SPIG summary of the Family Law Council report