In 2006, the Family Law Act 1975 was amended to include changes that strengthen ‘children’s best interests’ when spouses or couples separate or divorce. The Act promotes healthy development and long-term well-being for every child, with the Family Court making decisions that preserve the child’s rights if necessary. Whether you and your partner are together, or plan on going separate ways, you have the right to engage meaningfully with your child/children. The best means of securing your future, and that of your children, is with the assistance of Taylor & Scott Lawyers.
Should I get legal advice on children and parenting matters?
Legal advice is important from the outset of any prospective separation, particularly when children are involved. Family Law in Australia has broad reach and includes legal assistance services, family law courts and child support overseen by the Department of Human Services. By keeping children’s needs paramount, you can work within family law obligations with the guidance of an accredited expert at Taylor & Scott lawyers to achieve outcomes that include:
- A meaningful relationship with both parents;
- Protection from abuse, violence or neglect;
- To know and be cared for by both parents;
- Receive adequate parenting for reaching full potential;
- Spend time or communicate with relatives, grandparents and others; and
- Receive encouragement and support for maintaining connections with cultural ties.
Where can I obtain legal advice?
When the care and wellbeing of your children is at stake, service from the best lawyers is the only sensible option for securing optimum legal outcomes. You need to work with a highly experienced lawyer who understands your concerns. Located in the heart of Sydney’s legal and financial district, Taylor & Scott Lawyers have been assisting the people of Sydney, NSW and beyond since 1905, when the firm was established.
Our reputation is built on the trust and satisfaction of clients, and we invite you to a ‘children and parenting matters’ consultation with a family lawyer, so you can also find out why Taylor & Scott Lawyers are in demand as one of Australia’s leading legal teams. It’s important to know exactly where you stand regarding your legal rights and obligations, and it’s also worth remembering that it is the ‘child who has the rights’ and not the parent in some Family Law decisions.
Can legal disputes be resolved without going to court?
The Family Law Act is extensive, and although you may not need to go to court, you are still advised to employ the services of a legal expert who can help you plan for the future. There are various pathways afforded by family law that can help with changing family dynamics, arrangements already in place, plans for the future, relocation, and a host of other factors that might influence children and parenting matters.
Parental Responsibility: Parents are expected to undertake ‘equal shared parental responsibility’ for children until the child is 18 years old. Whether parents live together as a couple, or are separated or remarried, responsibility for day-to-day and long-term care for children remains the number one consideration from both parties. Long-term decisions negotiated with legal expertise from Taylor & Scott Lawyers may include such things as:
- The child’s health and medical treatments;
- The child’s current and future school and education options;
- Living arrangements that impact time spent with either parent; and
- Changes to living arrangements that impact activities or relationships.
It is almost always in the child’s best interests for them to experience “Substantial and significant” time with both parents. Substantial and significant time spent between parents and children can include daily routines, time spent during weekends and holidays, plus communication with the child when not together.
Parenting Plan: Taylor & Scott Family Law professionals can help you and your partner create an informal parenting plan. Although not a legally enforceable document, a parenting plan can be considered as legal evidence at a later date if you wish to apply for parenting orders from the Family Court. A parenting plan is ideal for couples who remain on reasonable terms and, although wanting to reduce their post-separation parenting arrangement to writing, do not want the rigidity of Court orders. Considerations in a parenting plan include:
- Who the child lives with;
- Time spent with each parent;
- Time spent with other relatives;
- Sports, homework, activities, hobbies;
- A united approach to disciplinary issues;
- Procedure if one parent decides to relocate; and
- Dealing with issues as your child grows and matures.
Parenting Orders: If you are able to reach agreement with the other parent regarding arrangements for your child, you may wish to formalise arrangements by entering into a legally binding agreement or applying for parenting orders. Parenting orders and agreements are designed with Taylor & Scott negotiation and mediation experience for satisfying a range of objectives, such as who the child will live with, allocation of parental responsibility and other factors as outlined above. A Consent Order (Parenting) provides you with certainty regarding:
- A Consent Order is approved by a court for covering living arrangements and finances to meet the needs of children.
- Consent orders have the same legally binding effect as rulings made by a judicial officer after a court hearing.
- Consent orders can include details about amending the details in future to reflect the changing needs of the child.
- The Court must be satisfied that the best interest of the child is served before your application will be sealed.
Is getting legal help on family law matters expensive?
If you and your partner remain at loggerheads and can’t agree on terms for your child’s care and wellbeing, you can start legal proceedings and ask the Court to make decisions for you. This should be a last resort as it can be an emotionally and financially costly experience. Expenses can include legal fees, counsel fees, court fees, the cost of expert reports, input from family consultants, witnesses, psychologists and more, making Family Court proceedings cost-prohibitive in many cases.
However, family law exists for good reason, and legal recourse is sometimes the only sensible option available for ensuring the best interests of your child are met. Taylor & Scott Lawyers offer a confidential and comprehensive assessment of your unique situation at the outset, so you can have peace of mind during every step of a procedure tailored for the benefit of you and your children.
At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.