Yes, you can apply to the Court for both Interim and Final Parenting Orders following separation and if you both agree, the Court can make Orders by consent to formalise the situation.

A common question that arises is – ‘do I have to apply for parenting orders?’  Often people have an outdated understanding of family law, as in years gone by, a custody order would be made as a matter of course, typically at the time of divorce, giving all parental rights to one parent (often the mother) over the other parent.  The law has changed substantially over the years, and the current Family Law Act is a long way from these attitudes.

These days, family law does not require parents to apply for orders, and actively discourages legal proceedings, except in cases of risk to a child, or urgency if a child has been removed.  The law directs parties into mediation before applying to the court.  

If you are worried that a parent may try to abduct a child, you need advice on how to prevent this, and what legal action you can take for recovery if that occurs.