Under the Family Law Act, a person can seek Court Orders
regarding the parenting of children if they are:
the children's parents;
the children themselves;
the grandparents of the children; or
any person concerned with the children's welfare and
This seemingly allows quite a wide variety of people to apply
for parenting Orders, particularly when taking into account the
last point, however the Family Court has historically been very
strict when considering applications from someone other than a
parent or grandparent of the children. In these circumstances, the
Court requires the party applying for Orders to establish facts
which justify their need to spend time with the children, and
whether it is in the children's best interests.
In May 2016, the case of Mankiewicz and Anor &
Swallow was heard by the full Family Court. The case concerned
an appeal made by great grandparents who had made several attempts
to secure parenting Orders to spend time with their great
The first time the parties in this matter approached the court
was in 2009, when it was found that their relationship with the
children didn't pass the necessary threshold for the Court to
interfere with existing parenting arrangements. Subsequent appeals
were dismissed as the parties were unable to provide further
evidence to persuade the Court that it was in the best interests of
the children to spend time with them.
This case highlights one of many difficulties when the Family
Court is asked to intervene in domestic family arrangements. If a
party is trying to secure time with children, but is not their
parent, guardian or grandparent, the ability for that party to
obtain Court Orders to secure time with the children rests on their
role in the lives of the children, their historical interest and
influence in their wellbeing, and the best interests of the
children generally moving forward.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The person named as an executor in the deceased's will has the right to arrange for the burial of the deceased's body.
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