Under the Family Law Act 1975, the children or child, should have a meaningful relationship with both parents, however, a Court will always make an Order in relation to children’s custody matters, that is in their best interests.
Each of the parties will both, more than likely, continue to share “equal shared parental responsibility.”
This means that both parents have the right to share the responsibility to decide about major long term issues, including, but not limited to, where the child or children should go to school, health and religion. The Court, however, in some circumstances, may remove parental responsibility from one party, or in extreme circumstances, both parents.
If parents or guardians cannot agree to what is in the best interests of the children, the parties must attend to family dispute resolution (FDR).
The parents or families in dispute must first attend family dispute resolution before initiating proceedings in court.
If there are allegations of family violence, interventions orders , child abuse or extremely urgent matters are exempt from family dispute resolution.
Relationships Australia can provide information, counselling, dispute resolution and group programs to help parties mediate their children and parenting matters.
Under the Family Law Act, in Australia, we do not use the terms “custody arrangements”, instead we refer to this as Children’s & Parenting Matters.
We often tell our clients that it would be in the children’s best interests for you to be able to co-parent, however, in some circumstances, that is not possible. If the two parents can come to their own arrangement, we can formalise that arrangement for you. In the event that parents cannot agree as to what is in the children’s best interest, we would issue proceedings on your behalf and take the matter to Court.
When deciding on “child custody”, we look at numerous factors, some may include:
Some of these issues may be agreed between the two parents, however, in the event that this does not occur, it may be necessary for the parties to obtain a Family Report. Our lawyers will sit down with you during your first consultation and explain what the process is with you in detail and what the potential outcome could be for you in this highly stressful time.
We understand that in these unprecedented times you may need to speak to a lawyer.
We are available for conferences in person (ensuring appropriate social distancing is adhered to), by telephone or by email depending on your individual needs and circumstances.