Separation can be a stressful and emotional time for everyone involved, particularly for your children. We understand the importance of trying to work out the arrangements for your children as soon as possible after your separation, and with minimal conflict.
Our family lawyers can provide advice about your legal rights in your parenting matter, including advice regarding:
- Living arrangements for the children, and how much time they will spend with each parent
- The time the children will spend with each parent during school holidays, and on birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
- Financial support for the children
- Travel (including overseas travel)
- Recovery orders
- Grandparents and other family members spending time with the children
- Applying to the Court for parenting orders
- Complying with or enforcing parenting orders
- Applying to change an existing parenting order
If you have reached an agreement
If you and your former partner have reached an agreement about the arrangements for your children, we can discuss the options available to you if you wish to formalise that agreement into either a Parenting Plan, or parenting consent orders.
Going to Court
We understand that in some cases, families are unable to resolve their parenting issues privately, and one party may decide to file an application for the Court to make parenting orders.
When the Court is making parenting orders, the paramount consideration for the Court is what is in the best interests of the child. In deciding what is in a child’s best interests, the Court will consider the benefit to the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents, and more importantly, the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subject to abuse, neglect or family violence.
There are many additional factors that the Court will need to consider when assessing what arrangements will be best for your child. Some of the issues that the Court will take into consideration can include any wishes expressed by the child (depending on their age and maturity), the child’s relationship with both parents, the practical issues and expense of a child spending time and communicating with a parent, family violence issues involving the child, and any other facts or circumstances that may be relevant in your case.
An application for parenting orders to the Court will usually involve the following process:
- An Application is filed;
- A Response is filed by the other party;
- The matter comes before the Court for the first time (“the First Mention”), where the parties may seek preliminary care arrangement orders or Directions Orders. Interim orders are made at an interim hearing, where the decision is usually made based on written material filed and submitted by the parties to the Court. Normally no oral evidence of the parties is given at an interim hearing;
- The Court may make an order that a family report be prepared by an independent family report writer;
- The Court may make an order for the parties to participate in a settlement conference, either in a conciliation conference or a private mediation, to try and negotiate an agreement;
- If the matter has not resolved at the settlement conference, the matter is returned to Court for directions for a trial;
- The matter is prepared for a hearing; and
- The matter is heard by a Judge for a final decision.
Where there are any urgent matters (for example, the children are at risk), then either party may bring an interim or urgent application to the Court, which will be dealt with depending on the urgency of the matter.
Our family law solicitors are able to provide you with advice about your legal rights and your children’s rights, the steps that you may need to take to try resolve your matter by negotiation or if your parenting matter proceeds to Court, your estimated legal costs and the time frames that you may expect for your parenting matter to be finalised.
For over 60 years Finemore Walters & Story have provided caring, hands on advice to thousands of the region’s families, individuals, and institutions. Trust tradition – allow us to assist with your parenting matter.
Contact Us or call us today at (07) 4153 0000!