Catholic school students, family law and custody issues

Every Catholic school strives to be a spiritual, respectful and sharing place where education is an active partnership between parents, the school and the community.

Catholic schools acknowledge the difficulties faced by students and parents when confronted with separation, divorce and remarriage. Catholic schools recognise that parents are a child’s first teachers and the importance of supporting students and families through these difficult times.

One of the primary objectives of the Family Law Act 1975 (the Act) is to ensure that children receive adequate and proper parenting to help them achieve their full potential.

The Act aims to provide children with the right to know and be cared for by both their parents regardless of whether their parents are married, separated, have never married or have never lived together. Generally, children have a right to spend time with and communicate with both their parents and with other people significant to their care, welfare and development on a regular basis. From time to time, however, a student may be the subject of a Parenting Order which is an order issued by a Court and which specifies the arrangements for the student’s care. Parenting Orders generally outline arrangements that the court believes are in the best interests of the child.

In that context, it is helpful to apply the following principles when dealing with family law or custody issues:

  1. The best interests of the student is the primary concern of the school.
  2. Parenting Orders (Orders) are binding on the parties to the Orders.
  3. Schools are not a party to the Orders and cannot enforce the Orders.
  4. Schools are responsible for educating and caring for all enrolled children and play no role in resolving or taking sides in family disputes.
  5. Parents are required to provide the schools with a copy of any Orders.
  6. Both parents are entitled to newsletters, reports and notes unless there is an Order to the contrary
  7. Except in specific circumstances, a student must be enrolled using the name that appears on his or her birth certificate

Need help?

The information contained on this website is of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. There may be other obligations imposed on schools in relation to family law related issues that are not mentioned here. If your school needs help with a family law related issue, you can contact the Catholic Schools New South Wales Legal Hotline on 1800 4Catholic Schools New South Wales (1800 427 679).