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When can child custody be filed for or decided?

In divorce and separation, parents often wonder what they need to do before commencing Court proceedings in respect of children and child custody.

Prior to filing an application for parenting orders in the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia or the Family Court of Australia, it is necessary to comply with the pre-action procedures pursuant to the Family Law Rules. This involves participating in dispute resolution services such as Family Counselling, Negotiation, Conciliation or Arbitration.

There are exceptions regarding pre-action procedures for cases involving urgency, allegations of child abuse or risk of abuse, involving allegations of family violence or risk of family violence, where one party refuses to negotiate or where there is an existing application before the Court in the 12 months immediately prior to filing.

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