Children And Divorce In Australia

Law Blog

The Australian Family Law Act 1975 stipulates the rights of children once their parents' divorce. Typically, the Australian family court makes a ruling based on equal shared parental responsibility or the child's best interests. Below is an article discussing the situations that prompt the family court to use either of the two statutes. 

Shared Parental Responsibility

In an ideal situation, children should enjoy their parents' love and care regardless of whether they are married or divorced. As such, the Family Law Act compels divorcing parents to take an active role in raising their children and ensuring they have access to basic needs. Parents who opt to divorce through an out-of-court agreement should draft a parenting plan detailing how they will raise the kids. The plan allocates responsibilities to each party and explains how the parties will make decisions regarding the health, religion or social life of their kids. Besides, it stipulates the contributions that the parties will make towards their children's welfare. Once parties agree to the terms of the arrangement, their lawyers file the document in court to make it legally enforceable. 

There are instances when the divorcing couple cannot agree on how to raise their kids. If this is the case, the family court will give a parental order that spells out the responsibility of each party and the visitation arrangements. Parental orders are legally enforceable. As such, the family court could penalise you if you break the orders. If you feel that the court was unfair, you can create a parenting plan or contenst orders to override the parental order. 

Best Interests Of The Child

If one spouse poses a threat to the kids, the other spouse could apply for sole custody to protect the children from abuse or unsafe environments. In this case, the court will consider the best interests of the child when making a ruling. The court requires sufficient evidence to prove that the kids' lives are in danger. In some instances, children could be called in to testify. When determining the child's best interests, the judge will consider the need for a parental figure against the risk that the child is exposed to. In some cases, the judge will award supervised visitation if they do not think that the child is under significant threat. 

Regardless of your situation, you should hire a family law lawyer to represent you in court. As a rule, your lawyer must be licenced to work in your area. Besides, they should have reasonable terms and pricing. 


1 February 2021

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