CUSTODY

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Our first aim is to avoid Court and attempt to negotiate an out of court “parenting” settlement. If this is unachievable, we are ready to argue your point of view in front of a Judge.

CUSTODY OR PARENTING CASES

The best interests of the children are always the first priority in the family court. Differences of legal opinion often exist in respect of determining the definition of best interests. In most cases it is unclear what would be best in the circumstances given the competing demands of both parents for limited financial resources and individual time with the child/ren.

Custody is often confused with “sole parental responsibility” and “residence” of children. It is more encompassing than those concepts and is better to discuss your “parenting matters”. We often refer to “custody battles” even more generally as meaning a dispute over the ‘time with’ and residence of children as between parents. Regardless of the context, you have more likely than not, contemplated the assistance of the Courts in achieving your goals.

It is at such a point in time that you require our services and perhaps those of a well regarded barrister to argue your case if the stakes are high.

We can provide you with a range of likely outcomes based on your circumstances and assist you to avoid a ‘showdown’ in court over the children. We are reasonable in providing advice and will undoubtedly provide you with a realistic range of settlement options and what you may expect from the Court.

The reality of separation is that both parents wealth and income is decreased as they need to contend with paying for two separate household rather than one matrimonial household. They need to understand that children need time with both parents, yet school and working commitments compromises both parent’s desires for the children. Parties to separation are often unaware of the norms and legislative principles enacted to guide what is in a child’s best interests and they need to rely on their solicitor’s legal opinion. Lack of understanding is one of the primary causes of family law disputes. We strongly advocate and attempt to negotiate a settlement and mediate between the parents before resorting to litigation.

The usual practice in family law is that the child resides with one parent and spends “significant and substantial time” with the other parent. The Howard government’s attempt to legislate equal parenting failed and this concept has faded into obscurity. The” system” has returned to the prior practice of a “resident parent” and a “spend time with” parent. In most cases the child/ren reside with the mother and spends time with the father. Arguments often arise over how much time the non resident parent spends with the child. The language of the family law resorts to discussions of ‘how many nights’ the non resident parent spends with the children. We can advise you of the process in determining the appropriate range of factors in your case.

EQUAL SHARED PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

Part VII of the Family Law Act [FLA] governs children. Under section 61DA there is a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility means that both parents have an equal role in making decisions about important matters that affect their children, such as education and medical matters.

The best interests of the child are paramount considerations when the Courts determine if a child spends equal time or substantial and significant time with either parent.

Under section 60CC the two primary considerations when determining the best interest of the child are:

  • The right of the child to know both their parents; and
  • The right of children to be protected from harm.
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PARENTING PLANS

Parenting Plans are subject to easy amendment and variation and are governed under Division 4 of Part VII of the F.L.A.

In the interim and prior to the finalisation of children’s orders, it is necessary for arrangements to be made for the ongoing parenting of children after the breakdown of the relationship between their parents.

Often with the assistance of appropriate advice, parents are able to reach agreement in relation to these issues, usually involving the children living with one parent and spending certain time with the other parent. Agreement can also be sought regarding specific issues, such as travel, education or medical matters

THE WORK WE DO

  • Initiating applications for Parenting Orders
  • Returning abducted children
  • Injuncting parents for improper behaviour
  • Prosecuting breaches of Orders
  • Variations to existing Orders
  • Complex abuse matters
  • Obtaining child support
  • Relocations Interstate or out of area
  • Variations to Orders
  • Removals: Airport Watch List
  • Change of name
  • Passports
  • Overseas Travel
  • Medical Procedures
  • Paternity
  • Recovery Orders