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Parenting & Children's Matters FAQ

Do children have a say in custody cases?

Children who are aged 14 and over have the right to choose their custodial parent. As parenting agreements also tend to consider emotional support as a factor for deciding who will be a child’s custodial parent, opinions expressed by children aged between 8-14 have still been known to impact custody arrangements. Parenting agreements can also be altered as children age to ensure custody arrangements will consistently support the child’s changing needs.

Is it harder gaining joint custody or sole custody?

As joint custodial arrangements are reliant on a structure of co-parenting, where parents largely agree on all aspects of their child’s upbringing, it is actually simpler organising sole custody arrangements over joint or shared custody. This isn’t to say sharing custody is impossible, however. Such agreements can be arranged and maintained with the use of family mediation sessions.

What does it mean to have the ‘best interests of the child’?

‘Best interests of the child’ is an integral term in the discipline of child custody law which is used to determine which of the child’s parents is best suited to provide for the child’s unique needs or care requirements. A parent can prove they have the best interests of the child by demonstrating they have the parenting skills, time availability, concerns for safety and wellbeing, and other elements of custodial responsibility. You can read more about proving the best interests of the child in our article on children’s matters.

Can the same Family Lawyer represent both parents in child custody cases?

It is considered a conflict of interests for the same Family Lawyer to represent both parties in any given case, including child custody cases. It is possible, however, for both parties to be represented by Family Lawyers from the same firm.

Can separated parents both file a claim for Child Care Subsidy?

Separated parents can only file individual claims for Child Care Subsidy via Centrelink if they share the costs associated with child care. The Department of Social Services stipulates, however, that only one parent can make a claim on a care session at a time, so separated parents are unable to make claims on the same sessions of care. False claims may result in penalties such as fines or even a loss of custody.

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