Perhaps the most important thing to finalise after a marriage or de facto relationship ends are the arrangements for the ongoing parenting of the child or children of the relationship.
Much like property settlements, parenting matters can be finalised by reaching an agreement with your spouse or by asking a court to decide the matter.
All parenting disputes fall under the jurisdiction of the Family and Federal Circuit Courts regardless of the status the parent's relationship. The Court's focus is to make an arrangement which is in the best interests of the children involved.
In this regard, the current default position of the Court is that children should spend equal or substantial time with both of their parents. However, the Court takes into account a number of factors which may make it depart from this position.
Key Pointers When Considering a Parenting Arrangement
Despite your separation, as parents you share common goals for your children
Most children want to be friends with both parents but this proves difficult when the parents are not able to be friendly or cordial with each other
Children need to feel that their parents approve of their time with each other
Conflict between parents causes significant damage to a child's welfare
Some degree of flexibility and understanding is necessary for an arrangement to function effectively
Consistency in arrangements is beneficial to children
Children have the right to be treated as human beings and to freely express love for their parents without feeling the need to stifle that love because of fear of disapproval
Our Parenting Services Include
Negotiating an agreed parenting arrangement and applying for Consent Orders from the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court
Organising for you and your spouse to engage in mediation with an accredited dispute resolution practitioner with the view to reaching an agreed outcome
Applying on your behalf to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court for Interim and Final Orders
Drafting the necessary evidence to support your application
Having your matter litigated before the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court
Engaging the necessary experts as required by the circumstances or the Court
We accept clients with parenting problems who are eligible to receive Legal Aid.
We are committed to pursuing outcomes which are both fair and geared towards minimising the level of conflict between the parents.
We feel it is important not to think of parenting matters in terms of winning and losing; our object is to devise an arrangement which will best benefit the children's welfare and development.
When a relationship breaks down, it is difficult to see the other party in an objective light. Often, high levels of anger and disappointment with the other party leads a parent to think that the children would not benefit from spending time with them.
However, the view adopted by the family law courts is that a child should have a meaningful relationship with both parents by spending substantial time with both of them unless a child is determined to be genuinely at risk of harm in a particular parent's care. In the vast majority of cases, both parents retain responsibility for their children's long-term welfare and have the right to be involved in all major decisions including those related to health, education and religious upbringing, regardless of the day-to-day living arrangements which are put in place.
It is our view that parents owe it to their children to love them and to examine their welfare from as objective a viewpoint as possible. The attitudes and actions of separated parents who remain in contact through their children have a lot to do with how their children will cope with the separation and how they will mature.
If possible, it is most beneficial for parenting disputes to be resolved quickly and with a minimum of conflict and disruption. However, some disputes are not able to be negotiated in this manner and do require litigation. Our experience and expertise with parenting matters allows us to deal with your situation, regardless of the circumstances.