During a separation or divorce, it’s understandable that both parties can become fixated on past grievances. In some cases, these issues can play out in custody battles.
However, it’s important to note that Australian law makes it clear that it’s the wellbeing of children, not personal quibbles, that is paramount when deciding on child custody.
As such, during divorce or separation proceedings, the court will take into account both sides of the breakdown. A family lawyer can help you apply for a parenting order.
How do the courts interpret the Family Law Act?
If a relationship breakdown occurs and there are children involved, a party could look to the family court to settle a dispute. Under the Act, the courts are required to address the best interests of the child above all other considerations.
Specifically, the Act ensures that:
- both parents are obligated with the care and welfare of their children (until the age of 18), and
- arrangements involving shared responsibility and cooperation are believed to be in the best interests of the child.
A child is the responsibility of both parents, unless domestic violence is involved.
While a family lawyer will look to mediation or other dispute resolution processes, there are times when they’ll recommend seeking a parenting order. For instance, if a child has been subjected to abuse, neglect or family violence, the court will assess measures to protect the child from physical or psychological harm.
Family law and parenting orders
Family law disputes can be some of the most emotionally draining disagreements. In some instances, parties cannot be reconciled on issues of child custody and will need to apply to the family court for a parenting order.
A parenting order can be made by consent of both parties or after a trial of hearing. In urgent situations, parties can seek interim parenting orders through a family lawyer.
A parenting order will outline parental obligations and the responsibilities of other carers. For instance, it could cover:
- Living arrangements
- Who they will have relations with
- Auxiliary issues such as school and medical treatment
In addition to this, a parenting order can also state how parents will share responsibility and how they will communicate with each other.
Court orders and party transgressions
Parenting orders are not something to be taken lightly. If a party breaches an order without reasonable cause, the court can require that party to attend a parenting program, or impose a one year jail sentence, a 60 penalty point fine, or community work.
Restricting access to children is not something that is taken lightly by the courts. However, if it’s in the best interest of the child, as outlined by the Act, the court might decide to take this action.
As all cases are different, it is important to seek the expertise of a family lawyer. Talk to an expert at McCarthy Durie Lawyers today.
For assistance with separation or any other area of Family Law, speak to the experts at McCarthy Durie Lawyers online or call us on 07 3370 5100.