Children and Parenting Matters – What Is The Family Law Act?

Children and Parenting matters are a major feature of Australian Family Law. ‘Children’s best interests’ are the primary consideration regardless of whether parents are living together, separated or divorced, with the healthy development and long-term wellbeing of your child/children prioritised. There are several pathways available to ensure the best interests of your child/children are established, including non-binding parenting plans and enforceable parenting orders established by the Court. Choosing the direction most suitable for you and your family is important, and Taylor & Scott Lawyers will help you understand your rights and obligations.

What is the Family Law Act?

The Family Law Act 1975 includes various provisions affecting families and relationships. The laws become particularly relevant when relationships between spouses or de facto partners end, with children and parenting matters taking top priority. The Family Law Act covers situations that include divorce, property settlements, spousal maintenance, children’s orders and many other matters.

After years of co-existence as a family it can be stressful trying to untangle affairs. Children are resilient, although negative and inimical relationships between parents can take its toll, so the Family Law Act includes enforceable parenting orders where necessary to help children adjust to the new paradigm with the minimum of disruption. The Family Law Act assists children and their parents in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Ensuring children live in an environment free from violence or abuse;
  • Enforcing shared responsibility for children from both parents;
  • Encouraging loving and meaningful relationships with both parents and other family members.

What are the rules and guidelines of the Family Law Act?

In the Family Law Act, authority is delegated to the Chief Justice of the Family Court to establish rules, regulations and by-laws connected with the Act. These are known as the Family Law Rules 2004. The rules deal with Court practices and procedures and apply to all proceedings under the Family Law Act. The rules and guidelines enable everyone who uses the Court to understand the processes and procedures of the Court.

How are children and parenting matters dealt with under the Family Law Act?

Children and parenting matters are an integral feature of the Family Law Act, and lead to parenting orders designed to establish suitable arrangements for the care of children. If you and your former spouse or partner are undergoing separation, and you remain on reasonable terms, you can draft a non-binding parenting plan that satisfies your objectives. If you require greater certainty regarding your child’s/children’s health and wellbeing, your parenting plan can be formalised into binding consent orders (parenting) by the Court. Consent orders focus on important arrangements, such as:

  • Who the child lives with;
  • Time spent with each parent;
  • A united approach to disciplinary issues;
  • Arrangements for schooling, sports and other activities;
  • An agreed-upon procedure if one parent decides to relocate; and
  • Confronting difficult issues as your child grows and matures.

If negotiations with your former partner have reached an impasse, a court judicial officer can establish parenting orders by taking all relevant information and evidence into consideration. However, the option of going to court is often unnecessary, expensive and possibly detrimental to future relationships between parents and their children, making the alternative of a parenting agreement overseen by Taylor & Scott Lawyers preferable in almost every case.

What is the importance of a Family Law Attorney from Taylor & Scott?

Prior to entering into discussions with your former partner, it’s highly advisable to employ the services of a professional Family Law Attorney at Taylor & Scott Lawyers. We will help you understand your legal rights and obligations while formulating a workable parenting plan without the need for court intervention. Except in cases involving allegations of family violence, it is presumed to be in the child’s best interests for parents to have equal shared parental responsibility.  This means, once such an order is made by the Court, parents are required to consult one another with respect to major long-term issues concerning the child.  Such decisions may include:

  • The child’s health and medical treatments;
  • Living arrangements that impact time spent with either parent;
  • Changes to relationships that affect activities and time spent with the child; and
  • Cultural and religious considerations.

Taylor & Scott Lawyers, located in the heart of Sydney’s legal and financial district, have been supporting best outcomes for parents and their children since the firm was established in 1905. Our highly-regarded reputation has been built on client success and we invite you to experience the difference we can make for you and your family.

At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.