Every parent wants to know that after separation, whether from a marriage or a de facto or same sex relationship, that there is legal assistance available to assist them in transition, enabling each parent to share time with their children.
The Family Law Act 1975 deals with all manner of situations in relation to children and sets out children’s rights which include:
- The right to know and be cared for by both parents.
- The right to spend time, and communicate regularly with both parents and other significant people which could include a step-parent or relative such as grandparents.
- The right to know their family culture.
There is a mandatory requirement for parents who have a dispute regarding their children to seek the professional help of a counsellor who is trained and registered as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. This may help to limit any dispute before having to go to court.
It may be that a “parenting plan” can be entered into by the parties which involves each parent having parental responsibility for their children and drawing on the principle that the court holds highly, “to put the best interests of the children first.”
There are all sorts of issues that may arise regarding children and parents generally make the decisions about major long term issues together unless an exception applies.
If you need to go to Court generally the issues decided may include, but are not limited to, some of the following:
- What school should the children go to
- Who makes decisions about their welfare in the short term and/ or the long term
- Can the children be brought up in one parent’s religion
- What name should they be known by
- Where can they live and with whom
- Can a parent move his/her residence and take the children either interstate or overseas.
When parents reach an agreement on issues, we deal with that agreement by drafting “Consent Orders” which are then filed in the Family Court. There is no requirement for either party to attend at court. Once the Consent Orders are accepted by the court and officially stamped they are enforceable.