CHILD RESIDENCE & CONTACT
Divorce can be a very distressing process not just for the parties involved
but also for close family members. It is important to comfort your children
through the process and make sure they understand what is going on and that it
is not their fault. It is most important to keep the interests of the children
in mind and ensure that they suffer as little as possible both during the
divorce and in whatever arrangements are made for them subsequently.
Once you have separated from your spouse or partner, it is important to make
suitable living arrangements for the children and ensure that both parents have
contact with them.
The Family Law Act sets out the following principles: unless it would be
contrary to a child’s best interests:
- children have the right to know and be cared for by both
their parents regardless of whether their parents are married, separated, have
never married or have never lived together;
- children have a right of contact on a regular basis with
both their parents and with other people significant to their care, welfare
- parents share duties and responsibilities concerning the
care, welfare and development of their children; and
- parents should agree about the future parenting of their
children. Parents are encouraged to agree on matters concerning their children
rather than seeking an order of the court.
If you and your partner can agree about the parenting of the children, who
they should live with and the contact they should have with the other parent,
then you may wish formalise that agreement through the Family Court. There is no
obligation to do so.
If parents cannot agree about the parenting of their children, then an
application can be made to the Family Court for its assistance in resolving
disputes. Through the court process, the Family Court will encourage parents to
reach their own agreement about the children but ultimately, if parents are
unable to agree, the Family Court can make parenting orders about a child. A
child residence order is a parenting order.
Whenever the court makes any orders about children, the most important
consideration is what is in the best interests of the child.
Family Law Kit
The above information is an extract from the AussieLegal Family Law Kit which includes detailed information and
case studies on the
Family Law Rules, Divorce,
Child Residence & Child Access, Property Settlements, Child Support and
Spousal Maintenance. The Family Law Kit also includes a Property Settlement
Calculator which can help you estimate what your fair share of the matrimonial
assets you are entitled to in the event of separation.
The Kit will be an invaluable guide you if you choose to act for yourself
when making an application to the Family Court. Alternatively, if you choose to have a lawyer acting for you, the
Family Law Kit will help you better understand what your lawyer is doing, help you
ask the right questions and help you make informed decisions.
Click on the link above to read more about the Kit.