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The Orders Generator (Part 1)

Regular members of FLWG will be very much aware of the ongoing discussion about the Orders Generator. This is an SRL-R project that the FLWG programmers will convert into an electronic generator. Essentially by entering name details and then choosing orders a set of almost completed orders can be generated. Almost means that there will still be a need for final editing as some orders may overlap.

The generator will (when released) provide a comprehensive selection of each type of order together with commentary on the types of orders.

Because of unforseen programming complexities the Generator is considerably behind its release date. The information provided below are just part examples to give FLWG members an idea of what which eventually be available. (Note sections of the hard copy of the orders generator is available to SRL-R members)

This information is being placed in the the forums at the request of several members who have requested an indication of the type of material that will be made available.

The following material (draft) is part of the orders generator initial text


ORDERS GENERATOR  A Guide to Creating Orders


The orders generator is designed to help you analyse the need for particular orders and create the orders you require.

By its nature the Orders Generator cannot cover every conceivable eventuality or the potential requirements of every parent. The contained orders and commentaries relate to the most common and the most common that lead to disagreements between parents

It can be used for the creation of parenting plans, consent orders and applications for orders made to a Court
In these cases the differences are the wording (tense) and the nature of the final document

You should read the attached document (link to Differences between Consent Orders and Parenting Plans)

Parenting Plans
Are informal agreements between parents and need not contain legal terminology. Both parents should sign the plan. Plans can be revised as often as the parents agree.
Parenting plans are not registered in the Courts (FMC  Federal Magistrates Court and FCoA  Family Court of Australia)

Completing Parenting Plans
As an informal document there is no preferred layout other than the document should be legible and signed and dated by both parents.
If you have existing Orders you can still create a Parenting plan that reflects your current and future arrangements

Consent Orders
Are orders made between the parents by agreement. There are two types  those made by the parents and lodged in the Courts without any applications being lodged in the Court and those that are made between the parents after action has commenced in the Courts.
The wording (tense) of these documents reflects that the orders have been agreed
Consent Orders are legally enforceable documents
Revised Consent Orders can be made and lodged in the Courts (nearest Family Law registry) as often as the parents agree.

Completing Consent Orders

No Existing Orders
You lodge an application (Consent Orders) in the Court.
You can complete this document by typing the orders into it or attach the orders to a separate document.
Existing Orders
You lodge an application (Consent Orders) in the Court. (nearest Family Law registry)
You can complete this document by typing the orders into it or attach the orders to a separate document HOWEVER you must reference your application with the Court file number used on your previous orders.
Agreed during a case
You can hand this up to the Court as minutes of consent orders or you can hand it up as a complete document with coversheets (see link for examples)

Applications for Orders
Are the desired orders contained in an application made to a Court. By nature they do not reflect agreement by the parents and the (tense) of the orders will be different

Completing Applications for Orders
These are completed with a Form 1. The desired orders can be embedded into the document or attached as a separate document


DO YOU HAVE EXISTING ORDERS
Do you have existing orders made by a Court or by consent after an application made in either the Federal Magistrates or Family Court of Australia.
If you do; you should be aware that changes to the Amended Family Law Act are not retrospective.
If you make a new application to a Court the other party may argue in Court that any changes are not a change of circumstances or a significant change of circumstances. If successful your application could be dismissed.
If you make an application which is subsequently dismissed you could be liable for the other parties legal costs
Change of circumstances revolve around a pivotal precedent called Rice and Asplund and subsequent case law related to that precedent.
If you are uncertain about change of circumstances you should research the FLWG Web Guide and post any questions regarding the topic in the FLWG forums.


A GENERAL GUIDE

The most difficult aspect of creating orders is getting them right so that both parties know their responsibilities and then not overlooking items that have been or may even become problem areas in the future

Orders should be logical in that you do not need a law degree to interpret them.

Orders must say what you mean  its no good later saying it really means something else No ambiguity  an order saying is authorised does not mean is ordered to or agrees to

As a start (whether you are applying for Court orders or orders that you will consent to) you must work out the practicalities of contact and if there are any difficulties offer practical solutions. What you want may not be the same as what the other party considers acceptable. The issue with orders is simple  they will either be ordered by the Court or consented to by the other party. Always remember the underlying principle in Court decisions is in the best interests of the children. Consent orders by their nature of being agreed may not necessarily follow that rule.

There is no difference between orders made by a Court and Consent Orders  they are both legally enforceable. Remember also that if a Court has appointed another party in your case (such as an Independent Childrens Lawyer) that party must also agree to any consent orders.

When creating your own orders stay away from legal numbering systems (unless you fully understand them) this is the 1 (a) (ii) style that you see in some documents. Keep yours simple use the 1s and 2s etc and even sub number with a, b, and c, etc  but be careful; incorrect punctuation and an order under the wrong heading can have a different legal interpretation
Can you use heading in orders? Most times the answer is YES. The idea of orders is that that are unambiguous so you might have a heading that even states Mothers Day/Fathers Day and another that states School Holidays

RESPONSIBILITY AND CONSULTATION
One problem commonly associated with orders is one or both parents misinterpreting what consultation and responsibility actually means to them. To avoid confusion you may wish to even spell out what you mean by consultation and responsibility (to avoid disagreements in the future) The following are included as a guide only and appear in the orders generator
Possible definitions of agreed responsibilities/consultation with the other parent  for use in Orders.
Only include items that are relevant, have been in dispute, or may in the future lead to dispute
These are to avoid conflict and any misunderstanding of the roles of each parent
Decisions that could be taken independently and without any consultation or notification to the other parent.
   How the children are to spend their time during contact
   Personal care for the children
   Activities undertaken
   Religious and spiritual pursuits
   Continuance of medicine treatment prescribed by GP
Decisions where one parent would always need to inform the other parent of the decision, but did not need to consult or take the other parents views into consideration.
   Medical Treatment in an emergency
   Booking holidays or to take the children abroad in contact time
   Planned visits to the GP and the reasons for this
Decisions that you would need to both inform and consult the other parent prior to making the decision.
   Schools the children are to attend, including admissions applications. With reference to which senior school the child or children should attend this is to be decided taking into account the childs/childrens own views and in consultation and with advice from the teachers.
   Contact rotas in school holidays
   Planned medical and dental treatment
   Stopping medication prescribed for the children
   Attendance at school functions so they can be planned to avoid meetings wherever possible
   Age that children should be able to watch videos. ie videos recommended for children over 12.


SOME WORDS OF CAUTION

DO NOT copy someone elses orders because they look good - your circumstances may be completely different and their orders may have been made to cover certain circumstances and eventualities you are not aware of

DO NOT start putting things in orders because they just sound good  your orders should be practical - not a wish list
Going into Court with an impractical and long wish list that you can neither; explain or justify could rebound by having the Court look more carefully at your other orders or you being labelled as controlling
Your application (with the orders) to the Court should be REALISTIC and CHILD FOCUSED if they are not and you go to a Court decision those words may haunt you in the future


HOW TO USE THE ORDERS GENERATOR
The Orders Generator will produce a set of orders that will need to be checked and often some orders will need to be edited, combined or reworded to make for a finished document.

Orders may mention one child and a particular set of contact arrangements  they are to give you an indication only. Obviously with more children the orders get more complex particularly with issues such as Birthdays


Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

The Orders Generator (Part 2)

These are the main sections that the Generator will contain,

Equal Responsibility   
Contact - Lives with and Spends Time with
Period Contact (Weekends and Block)   
Weekday Contact
School Holidays   
SPECIAL DAYS   
Child(rens) Birthdays
Fathers Day/Mothers Day   
Parents Birthdays   
Christmas Day   
National/Public Holidays
Pupil Free Days   
Telephone Contact
Emails, Web Cams and Mobile Telephones
Agreement on Schooling   
Medical Treatment and Records
Religious Instruction   
Other Equal Responsibility Issues   
School Newsletters   
School Reports   
Parent/Teacher Conferences
School Photographs   
School Events
School Pick Up and Delivery (Other Parties)
Attendance at Medical events   
As Otherwise Agreed   
Contact Exchange
Parent temporarily unable to care for the child(ren)   
Children are Sick
Communication between the Parents   
Dispute Resolution   
New Orders
Significant Events
Grandparents   
Contact with Extended Family/Step Family
Contact with Significant other Parties
Religious Holidays   
Different Religious Faith Parents
Cultural Heritage
Cultural Holidays   
Baptisms and Christenings
Interstate Parents   
Relocation/Boundary Orders
Change of Name
Restrictions on Overseas Travel
Criticism of the Other Parent
Extra Curricular Activities   
Hazardous Pursuits/Activities   
Body Piercing and Tattooing   
Alcohol/Drug Abuse   
Punishment
Elective Procedures/Other Treatments/Alternative Medicines
Other Costs for the Children
Messages (Communication) via the Children
Other Orders



Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

The Orders Generator (Part 3)

This is the type of information that the generator will display in the different order categories

Child(rens) Birthdays
These are BOTH parents event days.
Commentary
The Family Courts accept that childrens birthdays are a significant event particularly for younger children. (Contact on these days may become less significant as the children become older) It is therefore quite reasonable for both parents to want to see their children. In general the Courts have no problems awarding the parent contact on these days. Since birthdays are not religious or cultural in origin they are a recognised day.

Things to Consider and Potential Issues
The age of the children. Remember that although these days are childrens birthdays the Courts attitude is not the rights of the parent having contact but rather the rights of the children having contact with the parent on that significant day.
Both parents may wish to spend time with the children on this day
When does contact commence and cease? Some people prefer orders for a contact of n hours on this day.
Birthday parties  if a parent arranges this  should they inform the other parent should the other parent be allowed to participate

Practicalities
Does the day coincide with existing arrangements or what happens if the other parent has the child(ren) on this day? Orders should clearly reflect the arrangements

Orders
This section of the generator will provide a variety of different orders covering several scenarios

Another Example

Fathers Day/Mothers Day
Commentary
These are one parent event days.
The Family Courts accept that Mothers Day and Fathers Day are special (significant) events for children. Children become familiar with the concept when they start to speak. Pre school and younger school children are generally engaged in card making projects for the day. In general the Courts have no problems awarding the parent contact on these days. Since these days are not religious holidays they are generally recognised and accepted by the majority of Australian residents.

Things to Consider and Potential Issues
The age of the children  are they aware of the significance of the event. Remember that although the term is Mothers Day and Fathers Day the Courts attitude is not the rights of the parent having contact but rather the rights of the children having contact with the parent on that significant day.
When does contact commence? Some people prefer orders for a contact of n hours on this day. Others prefer that contact should commence on the afternoon or evening before the day so that younger children (who often like to indulge their parents) wake up with the parent on the special day

Practicalities
Does the day coincide with existing arrangements or what happens if the other parent has the child(ren) on this day? Orders should clearly reflect the arrangements and there may be a trade off (days or weekends) if the other parent would normally have contact on the day
An example is - a Father that has his children from Thursday afternoon until Monday morning. Would the Sunday disrupt the other childrens routine  or should the whole contact period be traded off by both parties. Depending on the calendar this could result in a lost weekend one year and a gained weekend the next year

Orders
This section of the generator will provide a variety of different orders covering several scenarios


Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
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