Frequently Asked Questions

My client’s parenting matter is listed for a 3-day final parenting hearing.  Can I propose interim orders even though the matter is listed for a final hearing?

Absolutely! A child who was having time with a parent may not have seen that parent for some time. This may be due to a range of factors, some outside the control of the parent. In these circumstances it may be preferrable for the parent (with whom the child does not ordinarily live) to agree to interim orders and an adjournment of the case for further consideration rather than proceed with the final hearing. This will enable the child to spend time with the parent they have not seen for a while so they can re-establish their connection and develop their relationship. Of course, the other party, and the ICL if there is one, must agree to the orders and the Court must sign off on them. The Court is not obliged to make orders simply because they are agreed; parenting orders must always be in the best interests of the child.

Will the Court make an ex parte recovery order?

It depends on the circumstances of the case, the Court and the Judicial Officer. Often times, a Judge will require that an Application be served before considering the matter and making an order. Whether or not an ex parte order is made may depend, in part, on the allegations of risk to the child. A Judge may allow a person (who may have unilaterally relocated with the child) the chance to return to, for example, the Northern Territory without the making of a Recovery Order but with the proviso that if they fail to do so by a specified time and day, then such order will issue for the child’s return.

A 14-year-old gets on a plane at Nhulunbuy and flies to Darwin.  The child’s mother lives in Darwin with two of the child’s siblings.  Orders were in place requiring that the 14-year-old live with the father (with another sibling) in Gove.  The child travelled to Darwin without the knowledge or consent of the father.  The father wants to enforce the orders and have the child return to him.  What are the father’s chances of success?

Technically parenting orders can be made until a child turns 18. However, in this instance if the child travelled to Darwin him/herself and doesn’t want to return to Nhulunbuy the Court may not make an order requiring him/her to do so. Of course, every case is different and the circumstances of each child is different so this answer cannot be applied universally. The older a child is the more weight the Court gives to their wishes/views even though it is only one of the plethora of factors in s 60CC FLA pertaining to best interests.

What is a Barrister?

A Barrister is a lawyer (legal advisor) who is often a specialist in a field of law that solicitors can instruct on behalf of their client to appear in Court. Barristers can appear in Court (as specialist advocates) and have experience in resolving legal disputes as negotiators, mediators and advocates. There are rules which outline what Barristers can and cannot do; for example, in the NT these are set out in the NTBA Barristers Conduct Rules. the Legal Profession Act 2006 (NT) and the Legal Profession Regulations 2007 (NT).