Guardianship of children
Disputes between guardians
What happens if guardians disagree?
If you and your child’s other guardian can’t agree on decisions about the child – for example, about what school they should go to – either of you can apply to the Family Court for it to decide the issue, so long as you’ve already tried to come to an agreement through Family Dispute Resolution.
The well-being and best interests of your child will be the first and most important factor when the Family Court makes its decision.
Family Dispute Resolution
Guardians usually can’t take a dispute to the Family Court unless they’ve already tried to come to an agreement through the Family Dispute Resolution process (FDR). For more details about FDR (see: “‘Family Dispute Resolution’: Mediation through the Family Court”).
The rules around when you have to go to Family Dispute Resolution, and how to prove to the Family Court that you have tried to resolve the dispute through FDR are the same as for applications for Parenting Orders (see: “What you need to do before you can apply for a Parenting Order”).
Resolving guardianship disputes by agreement
If guardians agree on an issue about the child’s care and upbringing, such as their school, hobbies or religion, they have the option of asking the Family Court to turn the agreement into a court order. The agreement can then be enforced like any other court order.
As well as guardianship issues, agreements brought to the Family Court in this way sometimes include parenting arrangements for day-to-day care and contact.