At Stone Group Lawyers our family lawyers understand how stressful it can be when trying to resolve parenting disputes over child custody or make legally enforceable arrangements as to who your children will live with and spend time with.
One of the most common approaches parents take is to seek assistance and help of the court to obtain binding orders in place, either by the consent of the parents or by the courts decision. Having orders made by a court can be an essential way to providing each parent with the ability to maintain relationships with their children and to ensure that the children grow up in a healthy and stable environment.
In 2006 significant changes were made to parental responsibility and how to law operates. The changes place a legal presumption that parents have equal shared parental responsibility in relation to long and short term decisions of their children. This can include decisions in relation to living arrangements, schooling, healthcare and religion. The only way this presumption does not apply, is if there is evidence of abuse or family violence. This is not limited to psychological abuse, but can include circumstances of emotional, financial and mental abuse. This amendment seeks to ensure that each parent has either equal time or significant and substantial time with their children unless this is against the best interests of the children.
In the making of these orders, the court is required to take into account a number of factors outlined in the Family Law Act such as primary and additional considerations which we can walk you through. Further to this, the court will also consider and focus on whether each parent has a meaningful relationship with their children.
An option available to parents following a separation or divorce is to have a parenting plan drafted. These plans are not legally enforceable, but rather, set out arrangements agreed upon by parents. Such agreements are usually drafted prior to obtaining a parenting order and may be used in any court processes to enforce an order at a later stage. It can be a cost effective way of resolving the order, but may not provide an enforceable remedy if one party fails to meet their responsibilities.
If you and your ex-partner agree on the parenting agreements for your children and want a legally enforceable agreement you do not have to go to court. You can have a private agreement drafted and as long as the court is satisfied it is in the best interests of the children, the court will make it binding.
Our expert family lawyers are here to advise you on the most appropriate approach to your parenting situation. For more information in relation to parenting plans and orders, contact one of our family lawyers for a free 45 minute consultation on 1300 088 440.