Christmas can be a difficult time for families, particularly for separated families who cannot agree about the parenting arrangements for the children over the Christmas holidays.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia deadline for applications for parenting orders dealing with the parenting arrangements for children over the Christmas holidays has been set for 4.00pm on Friday 12 November 2021.

If you are concerned that you will not be able to spend time with your children over Christmas, or you are in dispute with the other parent about the Christmas parenting arrangements, then you should take steps now to ensure that the Christmas parenting arrangements are settled before Christmas arrives, including if necessary making an application to the Court before the cut-off date.

Note the Pre-action Procedures

It is important to note that the new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Rules require parents to take steps to try to resolve a parenting dispute, including trying to resolve the dispute at Family Dispute Resolution conference or Mediation, before they make an application to the Court for parenting orders. For information about these 'pre-action procedures' please click on this link to our summary of these important steps.

Making application to Court before the November deadline

Once you have completed the necessary pre-action procedures, you are then able before the cut-off date to make an application to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for parenting orders for the Christmas period. If your application relates to the parenting arrangements for Christmas, the Court will allocate you a hearing date before Christmas.

If you file an application seeking parenting orders relating to the Christmas period after the deadline, your application will be allocated the next available hearing date in the usual way, which could be a date after the Christmas period so that Court orders can be made.

Any application filed after the November deadline will only be given a hearing date before Christmas if the Court considers that it is urgent, with the reason for urgency being something more than just that it relation to the Christmas holiday period.

We can help

Our Family Law team at McCarthy Durie Lawyers are able to provide you with advice and assist you to navigate the pre-action procedures, and if necessary to assist you with making an application to the Court for parenting orders for the Christmas holiday period.