In most cases, parents and other family members understand the need to put a child’s safety and emotional well-being first.

Parental responsibility and living arrangements for children in separated families need to be considered and decided upon following a relationship breakdown, and by law the best interests of the child are always the most important consideration.

Where a child will live, how often they spend time with each of their parents, the sharing of special event days such as birthdays, Christmas, and school holidays, and how parents make decisions about the care of their children once separated, are all issues of great importance which should be included in any agreement about children. The role that grandparents, step parents, and other important people in the lives of children must also be considered, and appropriately addressed according to the law.

It may sound complicated, and at times it can be. However, all of our lawyers are extremely mindful of the delicate nature of parenting issues and decisions which need to be made upon separation for children. Our high degree of expertise in children’s matters, and our familiarity with the requirements of the Court, allows us to act swiftly and effectively to ensure parenting issues can be resolved in a timely fashion consistent with the best interests of your child or children.

One of the fundamental matters to consider after your separation/divorce is the appropriate arrangements for your children. Some of the issues that requires your careful consideration includes:

  1. Custody of the children
  2. Access to the children
  3. Residence of the children and
  4. Maintenance of the children

With us you can be assured that we will endeavour to resolve matters relating to the children by alternate dispute resolution so that the harm and emotional injury that may be inflicted on your children will be minimised.

However, unfortunately parties may not always be able to agree. When that time comes, our experienced family law practitioners will be able to advocate for your interest in the court.

There is normally a three-step process involved:

  1. Negotiation between the parties.

    The parties will usually enter into negotiation on issues relating to the relating to the children after the separation/divorce, including issues relating to the custody, access and care of the children. This would involve each party preparing their respective parenting proposal or commonly known as “parenting orders” in addressing the specifics.

  2. Obtaining a certificate from an accredited family dispute resolution expert

    If the parties cannot voluntarily resolved the matter by negotiation the matter will be referred to an accredited family dispute resolution practitioner. It is a requirement by the law that the parties must (except where special circumstances arises that the Court would grant an exemption) obtain a certificate from an accredited family dispute resolution practitioner certifying the parties has made genuine attempts in resolving the matter through family dispute resolution before the matter can be referred to the Court.

  3. Application to the Court

    When all negotiation fall and a certificate is obtained, you can then proceed to the Court (Federal Magistrate Court or Family Court) for it to determine the matter.

    The Court has the power to make parenting order dealing with one or more of the following:

    • the person or people with whom a child is to live
    • the time a child is to spend time with another person or other persons
    • the allocation of parental responsibility for a child and, if two or more people are to share parental responsibility for a child, how they are to consult with one another about decisions to be made in the exercise of that responsibility
    • how the child will communicate with another person or other persons
    • child maintenance (providing for the financial support of a child who is not subject to the provisions of the Child Support Assessment Act)
    • the process to be used for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the order, and
    • any aspect of the care, welfare or development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child.

The Court will resolve the conflict between the parties by considering what arrangements would “ensure that children received adequate and proper parenting to help them achieve their full potential and to ensure that parents fulfil their duties and meet their responsibilities concerning the care, welfare and development of their children”.

More simply, the court will consider what type of arrangement will be in the best interest of the children and to ensure the parents are to have a meaningful involvement in the children’s life.

At McKenzie Lawyers we understand that no one will know better as to what is in the best interest of the children than you. And for that reason we will strive to achieve the right result for you and your child.

We also understand that when it comes to issues relating to the children, it is best for the matter to be resolved by the parties through negotiation and mediation. Our lawyers have extensive experience in alternate dispute resolutions and you will be assured that we take our best endeavour to resolve the matter without the need to resort to the Court.

We offer a fixed fee arrangement for our service prior to the filing of the Initiating Application.

If all avenues are exhausted and there is no other alternative but to resort to the court process, our team of experienced litigation lawyers will ensure your rights are well protected at all times and we will achieve the right outcome for you.

Contact us now to make an appointment for your free initial consultation.

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If you need a lawyer to help you through your parenting matters, let McKenzie Lawyers help you through this tough time. With our fixed fee arrangement, you can rest assured that you won’t be facing any unexpected legal costs.

Call McKenzie Lawyers today or fill out our Online Family Law Enquiry Form.