Going through separation or divorce means navigating a lot of new circumstances that you might have not anticipated. One of the hardest decisions to make for couples that have children from their relationship is where their children should be living. If they cannot reach an agreement, the court will be in charge to do it instead. Family law in Australia in relation to child custody states that they will have to take past circumstances as well as future prospects into account. The best interest of the child is what the court should have in mind at all times.

Best Interests of the Child

The best interest of a child usually means that it has a loving relationship with both of their parents. But sometimes coming to a solution with such relationships can prove difficult for the court, as well as for one of the parents, or both of them.

To make the decision on child custody, the court will take into account:

  1. The benefit to the child of having a meaningful and loving relationship with both of their parents, and
  2. The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm, abuse, neglect, or family violence.

The need to protect the child from harm is thought to be carrying greater weight than the child’s benefit of having both involved parents. However, family law in Australia may lead to a decision on child custody by looking at other relevant things.

If the child is mature enough, they may be asked about their preferred residence. The court may also look into the relationships that the child has already established with each of the parents, as well as extended family members (grandparents, aunts, uncles). The basic idea here is that the child is put in the care of people they are comfortable with.

If you have any worries about this, please contact Withstand Lawyers at any time. Our team of specialists includes experts in family law in Australia when it comes to child custody. They will work with you to ensure that you get the best outcome possible in terms of maintaining quality relationship with your child.

The history of the parents and their parenting habits may be looked into by the court. It is possible that the court makes a decision based on the previous will of the parents to take opportunities to spend time with their child. This is why our child custody lawyers often advise our clients to take notes of what they and their ex-partners had been doing prior to the matter going to the court.

Another thing well worth considering is the future of the. The court will make an assessment about the parents’ ability to provide for the upcoming needs of the child – this does not only apply to finance, but their emotional and intellectual availability.

Parenting Plans and Court Orders

Parents do not necessarily have to settle their custody matter in court. If they can reach the agreement on child custody, together with the draft of the visitation schedule of the other parent, they should enter into a parenting plan or consent orders.

Parenting plans are written agreements that set out the arrangements for the children. They usually include details about the child’s whereabouts, the days the child will spend with the other parents, the tentative plan on how school holidays and other special events should be spent. Parents are advised to add any other matter relevant to the co-parenting of the child to their parenting plan.

Worth noting and remembering is that a parenting plan is not a legally enforceable document.

If you want to draft a proper and appropriate parenting plan, you can refer to section 63C of the Family Law Act 1975. To spare you from any legal ambiguities, ask your representative with expertise in family law in Australia with the emphasis on child custody for help.

If you complete an application for consent orders and attach a copy of the parenting plan, the court could approve your parenting plan as a Consent Order.

Unlike a parenting plan, a Consent Order is a legally enforceable agreement. It holds the same weight as a Parenting Order that the Court has made after the hearing.

Parenting plan is often entered info after negotiations between the legal representatives of the parents, or after a successful mediation. We at Withstand Lawyers generally advise our clients for this agreement to be submitted to the courts for the purposes of making it an enforceable agreement.

Changing Parenting Plans and Court Orders

If you are unhappy with a particular aspect of your child custody arrangement, the first thing you should do is seek legal advice. Withstand Lawyers offer free consultation on any legal matter, so if you have never been represented by us, call us or send us an email to book a free appointment where you will tell us the specifics of your case.

The general rule is that if a decision has been made in the court, it will not be changed. However, this can vary if there have been significant changes of circumstances. But remember that the court does not want to listen to the same story about the same children more than once. This is precisely why it is necessary that the circumstances of your child have changed – and the court understands that this is possible.

Visitation Rights

Former partners can often experience difficulties in communication, and children are unfortunately commonly used as tools to hurt your ex-partner. For example, you may be denied visitation or access to your children by your ex-partner. Should this happen, do not hesitate to contact us. We work with our clients to ensure they will choose the best option depending on their situation.

Withstand Lawyers, as experienced child custody lawyers, recommend that you come to an agreement on how the child or children will be spending their time with each parent as soon as possible. This will be of huge help in the future, even if there are no disputes to follow. Drafting a parenting plan can spare you from a lot of troubles down the road, and not making one will definitely lead to arguments and problems, as there will be miscommunication and confusion between the parents.

Book an Appointment with Withstand Lawyers

At Withstand Lawyers, we are aware that child custody can be one of the most difficult and stressful issues a person may ever face. We have had the opportunity to handle a number of cases involving this matter, and we have successfully helped our clients achieve the best possible outcome. We at Withstand Lawyers will work hard on your case and be able to get you the best parenting agreement for you and your children.

Call Withstand Lawyers today at 1800 644 541, email us at info@withstandlawyers.com.au or send an online inquiry. We will schedule a meeting with one of our child custody lawyers as soon as possible. Don’t forget: as a special welcome to our new clients, we offer free consultation!

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