Parenting and Children Lawyers
When a relationship breaks down, the parties may face the challenge of deciding how to share their time with their children. This can be a difficult and overwhelming process for everyone involved. At Greigs Legal, our team of family lawyers is dedicated to supporting clients through this challenging time, working towards arrangements that prioritize the best interests of the children.
Family Dispute Resolution
Find a Skilled Parenting Lawyer for Your Case
It is a requirement that prior to any formal court proceeding for parenting matters, the parties attempt and attend upon a family dispute resolution practitioner and make genuine steps to resolution. Evidence of this attempt and or attendance must be demonstrated to the Court.
Family Dispute Resolution is another word for mediation. It is an informal process that allows the parties to have constructive discussions in the presence of an independent mediator regarding parenting issues. At the conclusion of this process, in the event the parties have engaged properly, a certificate in accordance with section 60i of the Family Law Act 1975 will be issued to the parties.
There are limited circumstances where parenting proceedings can be initiated without the required certificate. This is in instances where there are serious allegations of child abuse, harm or domestic violence.
If the above applies to you, it is important that you discuss it with your family law solicitor to determine the best way forward. When navigating the intricacies of parenting and children matters, having a knowledgeable parenting lawyer by your side can make all the difference. Our team at Greigs Legal is dedicated to protecting your rights and advocating for the well-being of your children throughout the legal process.
Equal Shared Parental Responsibility
The Family Law Act and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia have a default presumption that each parent of a child will have equal shared parental responsibility. This is not to be confused with the custody and care of the child/ren.
It is a common confusion of separated parents that equal shared parental responsibility means 50/50 custody rights.
Equal shared parental responsibility means that each parent has the right to be informed and make decisions a parent ordinarily would concerning the child/ren. These can include:
- What religion or religious holidays the child/ren will follow;
- What school the child/ren will attend;
- Medical treatment; and
- Where the child/ren live
However, the Court recognises that there are circumstances where one parent should not be afforded the above right to make decisions regarding the care and wellbeing of the child/ren.
The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility is rebutted where there are substantiated allegations of abuse of the child, domestic violence or where a parent has demonstrated they do not possess the requisite parental capacity to provide for the child/ren and protect them from harm.
Prioritizing the Best Interests of the Child
In accordance with the Family Law Act 1975, when the Court is tasked with determining what the spend-time arrangements are for the child/ren, the paramount consideration is the best interests of the child.
The act provides an initial presumption of the Court that it is in the best interests of the child/ren to have a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents.
It is then for each party to decide what that continuing and meaningful relationship is. It can be one of the following 2 options:
- That the child/ren spend equal time with both parents; or
- The child/ren live with one parent and spend significant and substantial time with the other
The above decision is based upon the concerns and needs of the child/ren and, the practicality of any spend-time arrangement.
At Greigs Legal, our team of dedicated parenting lawyers understands the significance of spend-time arrangements in promoting the well-being of the child/ren. We work closely with our clients to develop personalized and child-focused solutions that address the unique circumstances of each case.
Significant & Substantial Time
Supporting Meaningful Parental Involvement
Significant and substantial spend time varies widely between matters. What is important is that where the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility is in place, the significant and substantial time should include both weekend and weekday time.
This is because being a parent and having equal shared parental responsibility means that each parent is entitled to do and participate in things a parent normally would. Be it doing school drop-off or pick-up, assisting with homework, extracurricular activities, or having a lazy Sunday at home, each parent where possible and practical is entitled to participate in these activities.
It is up to the parties to determine what is significant and substantial time.
Ultimately though, the paramount consideration of the court is that the spend-time arrangements are in the best interests of the child/ren.
Child Safety Concerns
Protecting the Well-being of the Child
Where there are issues and concerns of child abuse, domestic violence, mental health and alcohol and other drug abuse, the Court may impose restrictions on how one parent may spend time with the child/ren.
If any of these issues are present in your matter, it is important that you seek independent legal advice about the best way forward.
Our team at Greigs Legal will handle your parenting matter with expertise and compassion. Call our head office now on (02) 4647 2968 for your obligation free, initial consultation with one of our experienced and trusted family law solicitors. We are driven to assist our clients in expedient and affordable resolution of their parenting matter where possible.