Children's issues

Securing parental responsibility is equally in place ... 

Parenting post separation can be a very challenging task. It can be made even more challenging when the parents are consumed by the conflict and fail to see how it is affecting their children.

In most cases, it is appropriate for separated parties to attend mediation to explore the possibilities of reaching agreement in relation to ongoing shared parenting of their children. Not every matter needs to go to court for resolution.

How can I agree with my ex about our parenting arrangements?

There are several ways that you can reach agreement with your ex-partner following separation as to how you co-parent.

What happens if we can’t agree?

It often occurs that after some effort, parents cannot see eye to eye on what parenting arrangement they will have in place post separation. In these cases, the court may need to interfere and make judicial decisions for the parties. It is important to note that the court is not bound by the parties competing proposals and can make orders that are not in line with either parent’s wishes.

Prior to commencing proceedings, the parties need to have attempted mediation from a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and a certificate needs to have been issued and annexed to the application to court. There are exceptions to this rules in cases of emergency or family violence.

What does the court consider important when it comes to parenting matters?

When making decisions about children the court consider what is in the best interest of the child as the most important factor. It is not about what the parents are entitled to or what is fair in the circumstances.

The overall purpose of the Family Law system is to ensure the child has the benefit of both his/her parents having a meaningful involvement in their lives, by protecting them from physical and psychological harm, ensuring that they have adequate and proper parenting to achieve their full potential and ensuring that parents fulfil their duties and responsibilities as parents.

If it is in the best interest of the child, the court will order that both parents have equal shared parental responsibility (ESPR) for the child. This relates to long term decisions about the care and welfare of the child.

ESPR may not be possible if the parents are in high conflict and cannot communicate effectively regarding the children’s needs and welfare. Certainly in cases where there is violence, ESPR may not be ordered.

How does the court work out what is in the best interest of the child?

The court takes into consideration certain factors outlined in the Family Law Act. Some of these are;

  • The benefit of the children having a meaningful relationship with both parents;
  • The need to protect the children from physical and psychological harm;
  • Any views expressed by the children;
  • The benefit of the children having a meaningful relationship with both parents;
  • The extent to which each parent has taken or failed to take the opportunity to make long term decisions in relation to the child spend time with the child and communicate with the child;
  • The extent to which each parent has fulfilled or failed to fulfil their obligation to maintain the child;
  • The likely effect of separation from the either parent; and
  • The practical difficulty and expense of the children spending time with each parent;
  • The capacity of each of the parents to provide for the emotional and intellectual needs of the children.

Each case is considered on its own merits and the court has wide discretion to determine the case.

How can we help?

Our years of experience and our reputation for achieving positive results for our clients makes Veritas Law Firm the trusted choice for your Family Law matter. To find out how we can help you, contact a family law expert today on 131 LAW or by email using the link below.

Lara Wentworth