Following the stressful experience of a divorce or separation, many more unfortunate situations can arise in the field of family law concerning the parenting arrangements of your children.
The purpose of this article is to provide a list of the most common situations that arise where it would be in your best interests to obtain a child custody lawyer.
Parenting Arrangements & Orders
These orders include details regarding:
- Which parent(s) will have parental responsibility for the child
- The times and locations of changeovers
- Which parent the children will spend time with and at what time and day
- Whether the children are allowed to travel overseas with one parent
- An agreement that the child’s parents do not speak negatively about one another in the presence of the child
To put forward an application for parenting or consent orders, the parties must be separated – that is, no longer living together in the capacity of husband and wife or de facto partners. A common misconception regarding parenting orders is that they are required following divorce or separation. This is not true. Parents are well within their rights to have an informal agreement amongst themselves on how to raise their children, the times they will spend with each child, who they will live with and other important decisions.
The only issue with this is that the child’s parents are often too emotional after the breakdown of their relationship to come up with arrangements in the child’s best interests. Accordingly, their thought process is usually centred around punishing their former partner, or selfishly suited to their own needs rather than their children’s or former partner’s needs
This is why if it is not possible to have an amicable agreement, a child custody lawyer should be consulted, and arrangements should be formalised.
Typically, parenting order applications will be approved, and orders will be issued within 4-6 weeks.
Applying For Full Or Sole Custody Of a Child
Full or sole custody refers to the situation where one parent has the power to make all the decisions regarding the care, living arrangements and welfare of their child.
In Family Court, the starting presumption is always that it is in the bests interests of the child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. Accordingly, this presumption will need to be rebutted with evidence to the contrary for sole custody to be awarded to one parent.
In the decision process, the court will contemplate issues such as:
- The danger of exposing the child to any violence in line with s61DA of the Family Law Act
- Weighing up the risks of the child having a meaningful relationship with the parent versus the risk of exposing the child to any harm
- Any court orders currently in place
- Any Police Reports
- The mental state and stability of both parents
- The Affidavits of both parties
However, just because one or more of these factors can be proved, it does not mean the other parent will be entirely excluded from participating in the life of your child. For example, assuming it was proven that the parent poses a danger to the child, the court may still order supervised contact in a centre if it is in the child’s best interests to do so. If you are considering applying for sole custody of your child, or your former partner is to your detriment – you should consult with a child custody lawyer to discuss the next steps.
What If A Parent Or Someone Else Has Taken Your Child Without Permission
If the other parent of the child has taken your child without permission, you must remain calm despite the scariness of the situation so that you can think logically. In most cases, the other parent does not intend to cause any harm to your child, so you should put your worries aside and focus on how to locate them best. Assuming there isn’t a domestic violence order against the other parent, your first action should be to reach out to them and discuss the matter with them civilly. If this is not possible or does not work, you should reach out to mutual friends or relatives of theirs to see if they can talk to them on your behalf to resolve the matter.
If this proves ineffective, your final informal option would be to hire a child custody lawyer on a more casual basis to speak with them. This can be effective as a child custody lawyer can inform them of all the legal consequences of their decision and afford them the final opportunity to return the child amicably before the situation proceeds legally.
If you cannot locate them:
You should fill out a location order application as soon as possible. This includes details such as the last time you saw your child and information regarding any enquiries you had made to find the location of your child and the other parent. Beyond making the enquiries above, you should not delay in applying for a location order. This is because any delay in applying can result in your partner and child’s location becoming harder to track. You should seek the guidance of a qualified child custody lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the next steps you should take.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
It is crucial that when you have a family law issue that requires a child custody lawyer’s assistance, you do not sleep on your rights and entitlements. The consequences of doing so can dramatically affect the lives of you and your children.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
If you have any more questions about the role of a child custody lawyer and whether you may need one or any other family law matters, head over to our blog section for more informative articles on a wide range of family law topics.
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