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Can You Drop a Custody Case in Australia?

can you drop a custody case | Justice Family Lawyers

After applying for child custody, a frequently asked question that arises is whether you can withdraw a custody case in Australia.

The answer is yes, you can drop a custody case in Australia. If you initiate a custody case but later decide that you want to withdraw your application, you have the right to do so.


To drop a custody case in Australia, you must follow these steps:

  1. File a Notice of Discontinuance. This is a legal document that formally tells the court and the other party that you are no longer pursuing the case. The Notice of Discontinuance must be served on the other party and filed with the court.
  2. Attend a hearing. In some cases, the court will require you to attend a hearing to finalize the withdrawal of the case. At the hearing, the judge will ensure you understand the implications of withdrawing the case and that you are doing so voluntarily.
  3. Receive a court order. Once the court has received and processed the Notice of Discontinuance, it will issue a court order closing the case. This order will state that the case has been withdrawn and that any court orders made concerning the case are no longer in effect.

Here are some additional tips for dropping a custody case in Australia:

  • Be sure to communicate with the other party and let them know that you plan to withdraw the case. This will help to avoid any surprises and make the process smoother.
  • File the Notice of Discontinuance as soon as possible. This will help to minimise the amount of time and resources that are spent on the case.
  • Be prepared to attend a hearing. Even if the court does not require you to participate in a hearing, it is a good idea to be ready in case the judge does decide to hold one.
  • Keep a copy of all court documents related to the case. This will be helpful if you need to reference them in the future.
  • If you are receiving any government benefits related to the care of your child, such as Child Support or Parenting Payment, you may need to notify the relevant government department that you have dropped your case. This may affect your eligibility for these benefits.


Once you have dropped a custody case in Australia, the following will happen:

  • Any court orders made about the case will no longer be in effect.
  • The court will close the case and issue a court order confirming this.
  • You and the other party will be free to make your arrangements for the care of your child.
  • If you are no longer able to reach an agreement with the other party about the care of your child, you may need to file a new custody case in court.

It is important to note that withdrawing a custody case does not affect parental rights. You will still have the right to spend time with your child and to make decisions about their upbringing. However, if you withdraw your case, the other party may be able to seek sole custody of your child.

Lawyer’s Assistance

You are not legally required to have a lawyer drop a custody case in Australia; you can choose to represent yourself in family law proceedings. However, it is highly advisable to consult with a child custody lawyer due to the potential complexity of the legal process and the significant consequences that may result.

Can Dropping A Custody Case Affect Future Custody Disputes?

Yes, dropping a custody case can affect future custody disputes in Australia.

When you drop a custody case, you are essentially giving up the opportunity to have the court decide on the care of your child. This means that you will be limited in your ability to enforce any parenting arrangements that you have reached with the other party.

If you drop your custody case and the other party then seeks sole custody of your child, you will have to file a new custody case with the court. For any new child custody case that you may choose to file, the court will consider that you dropped your previous case.

This could make it more difficult for you to obtain the custody outcome that you want. Of course, every case is different, and the court will consider all of the relevant factors when making a custody decision. However, it is essential to be aware that dropping a custody case could negatively affect your future custody rights.

Also read: Best Custody Arrangements For Toddlers: Exploring Strategies

Potential Impact

  • If you drop your custody case and the other party then breaches any parenting arrangements that you have reached, you may have difficulty enforcing those arrangements in court.
  • If you drop your custody case and the other party then moves away with your child, you may have difficulty obtaining custody of your child in the future.
  • If you drop your custody case and the other party then neglects or abuses your child, you may have difficulty obtaining custody of your child in the future.

Also read: Mother Not Complying With Court Order

Assisting a Client with Dropping a Custody Case in Australia

At Justice Family Lawyers, our client came to us feeling helpless about the detrimental effects the ongoing custody dispute was having on his children. Recognising the need for a swift resolution, our team acted promptly.

We filed a Notice of Discontinuance, meticulously adhering to the Family Law Rules. Through mediation, we communicated our client’s intentions to the other party, ensuring a clear understanding and avoiding further distress.

Our adept navigation through the legal complexities led to receiving a court order confirming the discontinuation of the custody case, thus prioritising the well-being of the children and honouring our client’s wishes.

Can You Drop A Custody Case in Australia?

Are you considering discontinuing your custody case for the sake of your family’s peace? Let Justice Family Lawyers guide you through the process with compassion and expertise.

Contact us today to find out how you can bring closure to a challenging chapter and start anew. Your family’s wellbeing is our priority. Call now to take the first step towards a harmonious resolution.

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