Changing a Parenting Court Order
A person wishing to change an existing parenting order, should give careful consideration to the reasons why they are doing so. They must be careful that they are not seeking to re-agitate old arguments which existed at the time of making the previous parenting order. A ‘significant change in circumstances’ is required to be established before a court will vary an existing parenting order.
In a recent case, the court noted that the parents (2) children aged 14 and 11 had been litigating parenting matters since their children were very young. It was evident that the children had been adversely impacted by the continued litigation. The parents agreed to Orders by consent on the first day of the final hearing. In doing so, the evidence before the court was not tested, including the evidence of certain experts. The mother was legally represented whilst the father was self-represented, but despite this the mother sought to vary the orders by commencing a new application only 9 months after the previous orders had been made.
The short time-frame of itself was not a bar to the proceedings but the arguments put forward by the mother were. The mother’s case relied on arguments which existed at the time of making of the orders. What she was really asking the court to do was for the Judge to exercise the power of a court of appeal, which was inappropriate in that forum. The mother had the opportunity to litigate those issues at the original trial date but chose not to, instead consenting to orders. It was obvious that she had a form of “buyers regret”, not a ‘significant change in circumstances’.
If you are considering varying an existing parenting order, then we would urge you to contact us to make an appointment so that we can assist you in your deliberations and discuss your prospects.