The Family Law Act & Parents

The impacts of divorce on both parents and children can be immense, so making the transition as smooth as possible for everyone is the first priority. The Family Law Act 1975 governs divorce procedures as well as legal avenues to ensure children are looked after during difficult times. Taylor & Scott Family Lawyers can assist you in negotiating settlements, overcoming obstacles and achieving fair and just outcomes for you and your children.

What are my rights as a parent under the family law act?

The Family Law Act, insofar as it relates to parenting issues, is concerned about the best interests of your children.  In determining what, if any, parenting orders to make, which may dictate with whom a child is to live, and how much time the child is to spend with the other parent, the Court’s paramount concern is the best interests of the child.  The primary con sideration for the Court in determining a child’s best interest is the benefit to a child in having a meaningful relationship with both parents, insofar as that is consistent with protecting the child from risk of harm. However, there is no requirement for court intervention, and a suitable agreement for property settlement, spousal maintenance and children’s issues can be chalked out between former-spouses or partners, in consultation with a lawyer.

Once the details are accepted by both parties, the agreement is signed and presented to a judicial officer for approval. Once approved, the agreement is made into a binding, enforceable Court Order.  Issues which may be dealt with in the agreement may include:

  • Allocation of parental responsibility in relation to the child;
  • Who the child lives with and spends time with; and
  • The ongoing care, welfare and development of the child.

Parenting orders must be followed, and there may be serious consequences for contravening the order without a reasonable excuse.

stay at home parent equal to the breadwinner

What are the primary considerations under the Family Law Act?

There are many important provisions within the Family Law Act. The laws are specifically geared to assist parents and children when marriages or de facto partnerships end. The Family Law Act covers divorce, property division, children’s orders, spousal maintenance and other matters.

IF the Court is asked to make orders governing a post-separation parenting arrangement, the Court can only make orders which reflect the child’s best interest on the evidence.  The primary considerations for the Court in determining what Orders would reflect a child’s best interests include the benefit to a child in having a meaningful relationship with both parents, and the need for protecting a child from risk of harm.  The need to protect the child from risk of harm is going to be given greater weight than the need to ensure the child benefits from a meaningful relationship with both parents.

It can be overwhelming trying to untangle relationship ties while dealing with a partnership breakdown. Achieving fair outcomes can seem impossible with so much emotional investment, while children’s issues complicate matters even more, making the assistance of Taylor & Scott Family Law experts a smart option. Areas of family law overseen by Taylor & Scott Lawyers include:

  • Separation and Divorce;
  • Child Support;
  • Property Settlements;
  • Spousal Maintenance;
  • Parenting Agreements;
  • Consent Orders; and
  • Binding Financial Agreements.

What are parents responsible for under the Family Law Act?

Parental responsibility refers to all duties, responsibilities, power and authority a parent has in relation to children, according to law. This includes both day-to-day decisions for meals and clothing plus long-term decisions related to health, education and upbringing. Both parents have “parental responsibility” with respect to their children.  This means that each parent, independently of the other, may make major long-term decisions relating to their children.  A parent’s “parental responsibility” can only be altered by a Court order.

If the Court is asked to determine a parenting matter, the legislation requires the Court to apply a rebuttable presumption that it is in the children’s best interest for the parents to have “equal shared parental responsibility”.  Once such an order is made, the parents are no longer permitted to make major-long term decisions with respect to the children independently of the other parent.  The parents must consult with the other parent, and making a genuine effort to come to a joint decision.

The presumption that it is in the children’s best interests for the parents to have equal shared parental responsibility does not apply in cases involving family violence.

The Family Law Act provides mechanisms for enforcing court orders. The court may order ‘equal shared’ responsibility or ‘sole’ responsibility, depending on the circumstances unique to each case. The alternative solution of reaching an agreement without the need for court intervention is often preferable. Taylor & Scott Family Law experts can formalise a legally binding agreement that helps you retain control over your future and that of your child.

How can I find out more about parenting cases under the Family Law Act?

Information about the Family Law Act is found on official Australian Government websites. However, every family has specific dynamics that need to be addressed during separation or divorce, and legal expertise found at Taylor & Scott Lawyers is highly advisable. Divorce doesn’t need to be complex, but when children are involved it’s natural to want to secure the best possible future – an ideal that Taylor & Scott fully supports.

At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.