What are Children’s Orders?
Australian law with respect to children’s orders focuses on the rights of children to have an ongoing relationship with both parents so that separating from your partner doesn’t mean that you are separating from your child or children. As family lawyers, we are familiar with the relevant legislation and can advise and assist you when it comes to this difficult and stressful time.
When considering Orders with respect to children, the Court will look at the following issues:
- Who will the children live with?
- How much time will they spend with the other parent?
- What are the time arrangements for the children on special occasions?
- How will both parents be kept in the loop in regard to important decisions such as education and health?
Equal Shared Parental Responsibility
Equal shared parental responsibility means that both parents have legal rights and responsibilities towards the child. It does not mean that the child will spend half of their time with one parent and half with the other. What it does mean is that each parent has an equal say in decisions relating to the child in important areas such as health and education. Even if the child lives with the other parent much of the time you may still have equal shared parental responsibility.
The law ensures that the best interests of the children are served first. When considering what is in the children’s best interests, the Court has to consider facilitating a meaningful relationship between the children and both of their parents and also to protect the child from harm.
If the Court is to provide equal parental responsibility then it will also consider whether equal time is in the best interests of the children and whether it’s practical. Rather than equal time, for example, the Court may order substantial and significant time be spent with the other parent.
Where do I start?
Firstly, seek legal advice. Zielinski Legal will take you through all of the areas which need to be considered and document what you think is a fair approach to arrangements for your children. If your former partner is agreeable, we can help you formalise the document without proceeding to costly court action.
If your differences are unable to be settled by negotiation, then you will need to commence on the path to having parenting orders issued by the Family Court of Australia or Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
Recent changes to the Family Law Act 1975 mean that you will need to attend family dispute resolution before applying for parenting orders. The accredited family dispute resolution practitioner will issue a certificate which must be filed with the court application and simply states that your differences were unable to be resolved.
If your case does end up in court, a legally binding decision will be made through a hearing where the Judge will decide what is in the children’s best interests.
Why use a lawyer?
As family lawyers experienced in this process we can advise you in regard to the complexities of your specific situation as well as guide you through what can be a stressful and confusing process. We can help take the heat out of a difficult emotional situation and negotiate on your behalf to obtain the best possible result for your children.
And if it comes to Court, we are familiar with the court system and can use our experience to your advantage.