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Children’s Issues & Parenting Orders

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:

  • the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents; and
  • the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm, or being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

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.

Can we avoid going to Family Court if we agree?

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.

What if we can’t agree?

If you cannot agree on the care arrangements for the children, defined pre-action procedures require parties to attend mediation before making application to the Family Court for assistance.

Extraneous factors such as evidence of the existence of family violence can provide an exemption to parties having to attend mediation before commencing Family Court proceedings.

For more information regarding mediation options and exemptions, please see our FAQ.

If mediation is unsuccessful, then you will be provided with a Section 60i certificate, which entitles you to make application to the Family Court for assistance in resolving issues in dispute.

Our experienced professional team can advise you on the appropriate strategy for your specific circumstances as well as provide you with the most time and cost-effective approach.

Call us today on 9443 1111 and
let us help you change tomorrow.