When parents are unable to work together to make a child-orientated decision, they often end up in family court fighting over routine parenting decisions instead of actual legal issues.
Judges have the ability to dictate parenting schedules, divide decision-making responsibilities and make any other decisions as they deem fit. Unfortunately, a court order cannot force a parent to use their common sense or to make the best choices for their children.
Over the years, we have seen parents file court applications over small parenting disputes such as haircuts, birthday gifts, screen time and the movie ratings deemed appropriate for children. While these issues can be frustrating, a court order is usually ineffective at resolving the issue. Ultimately, it is up to parents to use their discretion when making decisions for the benefit of their children.
In many situations, substandard parenting is not enough to make substantial changes to a parenting schedule. Filing a court application based on poor parenting or inconsiderate choices may only result in a court order with a clause or two to discourage the behaviour. Equally as frustrating, these special clauses may not be easily enforced if they are ignored. If parents bring parenting disputes to court to often, their matter may be flagged as high-conflict and the parents may require permission from the courts before being permitted to file further court applications.
Whenever possible, parents should attempt to resolve parenting disputes outside of court. There are many mediators, arbitrators and other parenting experts that are better suited to assist with parenting matters. If parenting issues must proceed to court, ample evidence will need to be provided to demonstrate that the children were disadvantaged or harmed by the other parents shortfalls. If you are in a difficult parenting situation, our team can refer you to a professional to assist with your matter.