Children and ‘custody’- parenting arrangements
After the divorce, what happens to the children?
Under the Family Law Act 1975, it’s presumed that both parents will have equal shared parental responsibility for their child or children. That means they are required to consult each other and make joint decisions about major issues affecting the child such as education, health, housing, and religion. In some situations equal shared parental responsibility may not be in the child’s best interests, and you will need to discuss other aspects of parental responsibility with one of our solicitors.
We can also advise you on what parenting arrangement might also be best for your child or children upon separation, including where they are to live, with whom they are to live, and how often they see the other parent. There is no current law which requires children to spend equal time with both parents in all cases. Living arrangements, and the allocation of time between parents and significant others, is subject to the child’s best interests in all cases.
Who can take responsibility for the care of children?
The Family Law Act allows for any person who has an interest in the care, welfare and development of a child to make an application about that child. This means that persons who are not the parents may apply to the Court for Orders, including grandparents.
What role does the court play in making decisions about children?
The Court can make Orders which it considers to be in the best interests of the children, despite the apparent conflict with the wishes or the interests of either of the parents or children. Such an order literally deals only with when a child lives with a parent, or spends time with a parent. It does not affect other responsibilities that parents have in making decisions about children including medical, dental and educational matters.
How does the court decide where children will live?
Parenting laws state that the welfare of the child is of paramount importance. If both parties cannot agree, a Judge or Federal Magistrate will make a decision after considering all the relevant factors. In some cases the Court can require that the children be separately represented by their own solicitor. Mark Hanna has a high degree of expertise in relation to children’s matters.
What happens if one party tries to take the child away?
If there is a fear that one party may remove the child from the other, or if the child has actually been removed, an urgent Order can be obtained from the Court to prevent the child from being taken away, to have the child returned or to locate the child. This is important if there is a possibility that the child may be taken overseas.