When separating, it is important to consider how your separated living arrangements will impact your children, including where the children live and/or how they spend time with each parent.
It may not be safe for your children to spend time with their other parent until certain risk factors are addressed, including but not limited to avoiding their exposure to family violence.
When the Family Court considers making a parenting order, the overarching principle is the best interests of the child (s60CC, Family Law Act 1975, or Family Court Act 1997 equivalent).
In determining the best interests of the child, it is necessary to balance the following primary considerations:
There are also several additional considerations to assist in making orders that are appropriate in the circumstances.
These considerations are all relevant when attempting to agree parenting arrangements informally, via a parenting plan or through securing Court orders.
In our experience, the assistance of an experienced family lawyer in the early stages of negotiations can help to create practical and safe arrangements, with the best possible outcome for your children.
If it is necessary to seek Court orders for the protection of childen, or for the purpose of implementing interim risk management arrangements such as urinalysis, supervised time or other arrangements, we can help you put these in place.
At Dimond Family Lawyers we recognise marriage breakdowns that involve children can be far more volatile than those without. When people are facing a marital breakdown that includes the possibility of losing regular time with their child or children, the emotional crisis can be exacerbated or even become volatile.
At Dimond Family Lawyers, our team of understanding and knowledgeable professionals can help you to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome from the outset, which may limit the negative impact separation can have on your children and/or keep your children safe.
In our experience, parents are generally best placed to devise the most practical and efficient plans to care for their children. If it is possible for you and your partner/spouse to agree on the care arrangements for the children, we can assist you in the preparation of a structured Parenting Plan.
A Parenting Plan is not an enforceable document but is a strong statement of the intention of the parties. A Parenting Plan can be used as evidence to support any future Family Court Application for parenting orders of a similar structure, if necessary. If it is possible to agree financial and children issues on a final basis, and you want an enforceable Family Court Order to ensure both parties adhere to what has been agreed, then it is still not necessary to go to Court.
We can encapsulate the terms of your Parenting Plan in a Form 11 Application for Consent Orders which is filed with the Family Court and considered in Chambers (i.e., not in Court) by a Registrar. If your Application for Consent Orders is approved by the Family Court, then these terms become enforceable as part of a Family Court Order.