Parenting and Children

Parenting & Children Matters

Being a firm that specialises exclusively in family law, we at SBFL have extensive experience in parenting and children’s matters. Whether it be obtaining parenting orders for child custody and time or formalising an existing agreement into a legally binding document we are able to assist. Our lawyers are compassionate, empathic and have a high level of skill to assist you in achieving the best possible outcome.

When a marriage or de facto relationship breaks down one of the main concerns is about the children and future parenting arrangements. This is often a contentious issue and will bring about a major change in the lives of the children and the parents involved. 

Parenting Arrangement – what do I need to consider

The parties involved firstly need to consider whether they will be adopting a shared care arrangement and if not, who the children will live with and what time the children will spend with the other parent. When considering this, the parties should consider:

1. Whether the arrangement allows for the children to have a meaningful relationship with both parents;

2. Protects the children from any physical or psychological harm and exposure to abuse, neglect or family violence;

3. The practicality of the arrangement; and

4. Parental responsibility and decision making (see below).

Parental Responsibility

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“the Act”) defines parental responsibility very broadly to encompass all duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to their children. In the absence of a Court order allocating parental responsibility, both parents have parental responsibility for the children and are therefore entitled to make day-to-day and major long term decisions concerning the children without the need to consult the other parent. 

The Court makes 2 most common orders in relation to parental responsibility. These include an order for: 

Equal shared parental responsibility, which requires parents to consult with each other and make a genuine effort/attempt to make decisions in relation to any major long term issues for the child; or

Sole parental responsibility, which allows the parent with parental responsibility to make decisions concerning the welfare of the child without having to consult the other parent.

The Act creates a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility that can only be rebutted in circumstances of child abuse, family violence and high levels of parental conflict.

If you are considering obtaining an order for parental responsibility, we are able to assist you in this process and provide you with comprehensive advise of your entitlements in this regard. 

Parenting Arrangements What if we cannot agree

If you are unable to reach agreement about parenting matters with your former spouse it may be beneficial for you to attend mediation and engage in family dispute resolution. 

Mediation is a useful, cost-effective and a rather quick way of resolving matters. The mediation will be facilitated by an independent third party, mediator, who will assist in narrowing outstanding issues and will explore potential settlement options with both parties. 

We at SBFL are committed to assisting our clients reach amicable and cost-effect settlements in a timely manner. We are able to represent you in any mediation and assist you in formalising any agreement reached into binding orders and agreements. 

Can I go to Court without mediating

The Act specifies that parties must attend compulsory dispute resolution/mediation prior to commencing Court proceedings. In the event mediation is not successful, the mediator will issue an section 60I certificate. This certificate is required to be filed when commencing proceedings.

You may seek an exemption from attending family dispute resolution in circumstances of urgency and family violence. We are able to meet with you to assess whether you are likely to be granted an exemption.  

We at SBFL are experienced in preparing Court documents and advocacy. We are able to represent you at any stage of your matter in both the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Call today to talk with one of our highly experience Family Lawyers 1300 007 235.

Family Lawyers Sydney