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Home > Jurisdictions > Child Protection > Irreconcilable Differences

Irreconcilable Differences

The Children’s Court of Victoria may make a protection order in respect of a child if it finds that:

  • the child is in need of protection; or
  • that there is a substantial and presently irreconcilable difference between the person who has parental responsibility for the child and the child to such an extent that the care and control of the child are likely to be seriously disrupted.
What are irreconcilable differences?

Irreconcilable differences exist when there has been a serious breakdown in the relationship between a child and a person who has parental responsibility for the child. These cases come before the Children's Court when one of the parties (child or person who has parental responsibility for the child) wants responsibility for the daily care and control of the child to be transferred to another person.

Who can make an irreconcilable difference application to the Children’s Court?

An application for a finding that irreconcilable differences exist can be made by:

  • the person who has parental responsibility for the child, or
  • the child.
Conciliation counselling

Conciliation counselling is arranged by the Department of Health & Human Services to assist the person who has parental responsibility for the child and the child to resolve their differences and avoid going to court. On completion of the counselling the Department of Health & Human Services will issue the parties with a certificate. The certificate must be produced to the Children’s Court registry at the time of making an irreconcilable differences application. The counselling must have been undertaken within three months of the application being made to the court.

What happens when irreconcilable differences are found by the Children's Court to exist?

If the Children's Court finds that a substantial and presently irreconcilable difference exists it will then consider what protection orders should be made in respect of the child.