Children and Parenting Matters – Court

An unfortunate side-effect of changing demographics and household dynamics is the incidence of divorce and separation affecting children and their relationships with parents and other loved ones. Children need protection during difficult times, and the Family Law Act 1975 includes the provision of Court orders to ensure your child’s best interests are looked after.

When can you apply for Family Law parenting orders in the courts?

Unlike in financial matters, there is no time limitation for approaching the Court for parenting orders. The vast majority of children and parenting matters can be resolved with the assistance of an expert Taylor & Scott Family Lawyer without need for a court hearing, ultimately saving you time, money and potential heartache.

Children and parenting matters can be complex, although a parenting plan can be put in place at any time. However, you should seek legal advice for understanding your rights and responsibilities prior to applying for family law orders in the courts. Taylor & Scott Lawyers are well known for their ability to resolve complex issues, so if your former spouse or partner remains unreasonable in private negotiations, we can mediate on your behalf. Here are just a few areas of children and parenting matters where Taylor & Scott Lawyers can assist.

Parental responsibility: Unless displaced by a Court order, both parents have parental responsibility for any children from the relationship under 18 years of age. Major decisions that may need resolving include schooling, health, and religious observances.

Parenting time: There is no presumption as to the amount of time that a child should spend with each parent. Taylor & Scott Family Law professionals will help you strike the right balance for achieving ongoing and meaningful relationships.

Financial responsibility: Both parents share the responsibility of financially supporting children after separation. Arrangements can be managed independently, with the assistance of a lawyer, or through application of a child support assessment through the Department of Human Services, Child Support.

The best interests of the child: Regardless of how your parenting plan or court orders are established, the ‘best interests of the child’ is the highest priority. If there are obstacles, or your former partner is dragging his or her heels on the matter, Taylor & Scott mediation is the best way to reach a satisfactory agreement.

father with child

How can you apply for orders in family law?

If you have reached agreement with your former partner regarding parenting arrangements, you don’t have to go to court, however, it’s worth understanding that a unenforceable parenting plan is not the same as a binding parenting order issued by the Court. You can apply to the Family Court of Australia for consent orders, including parenting orders. You can also apply to alter the terms of existing family law orders – whether or not you are successful depends on the facts of your case. It’s worth noting that an application for parenting orders can be lodged alongside applications for spousal maintenance, property settlement and other binding court orders.

How can Taylor & Scott help with Family Law Court orders?

Children and parenting matters that result in Family Law Court orders are generally established in a stepped process with a registrar, a family consultant and/or a judge.

Registrar: A registrar is a qualified lawyer who is employed by the Court to act as judicial officers in exercising certain delegated powers under the Act.  For example, Registrars may sit in Court to deal with divorces.  Some Senior Registrars are delegated the power to hear interim parenting disputes. In some cases, a parenting plan (being an informal, unenforceable parenting arrangement reduced to writing) may be appropriate for you.  If so, Taylor & Scott Lawyers will help you formalise a suitable parenting plan with your former spouse or partner. We are the mediation and negotiation experts who know how to de-pressurise family disputes for the benefit of everyone involved. If agreement is reached, we can formalise your parenting plan into an enforceable court order. If agreement can’t be reached, we will assist you in preparing a strong case for trial that supports your needs and those of your child/children.

Family consultant: In most children’s and parenting matters, you will be expected to undertake a child dispute conference, or a child inclusive conference (in the Federal Circuit Court); or a Child Responsive Program in the Family Court with a family consultant psychologist or social worker. This should help to clarify issues in dispute.  The report which is prepared by the consultant will be given to the Court to assist the Judge in determining how best to progress the matter towards a resolution.

Judge-managed events: Judge-managed court events are a last resort, and can be financially and emotionally costly. The Court will make decisions and establish orders based on all information relevant to the case..

To maximise your chances of best possible outcomes for you and your child/children, a consultation with a specialist Taylor & Scott Family Lawyer is recommended.

At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.