Child Custody

Child Custody Lawyers Newcastle NSW

Sorting out parenting arrangements is often the greatest concern following a separation or divorce.

Under Australian family law, children have a right to enjoy a “meaningful relationship” with both their parents and to be protected from harm. But, a court is required to prioritise protecting the children from harm.

People often choose to hire an experienced child custody lawyer to assist with parenting arrangements.

This can help each party reach an ideal outcome. Saving time, stress and energy.

Please contact us to learn how we can assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Child Custody

The Family Law Act 1975 is gender-neutral, and does not make assumptions about parenting roles.

When a family court is making a decision about a child, the court will make an order that is in the best interests of the child.

Many factors are considered. It’s often best to consult an expert family lawyer to find out how this may affect you.

Parenting agreements can be;

  • an oral agreement,
  • a written parenting plan, or
  • an agreement that is put into a formal court order, called ‘consent orders’. This requires an application to the court.

A parenting plan is a written record of an agreement between the parents about the care of the children. It must be signed and dated. However, it is not a legally enforceable agreement.

There is no required format for a parenting plan.

A Consent Order is a written agreement that is approved by the Family Court through an application made to the Court. It can cover parenting arrangements, property settlement and spousal maintenance.

Consent Orders are made through the Court by lodging an Application for Consent Orders. They have the same legal effect as if they had been made by a Magistrate or Judge.

The Court must be satisfied that the orders sought are in the best interests of the child.

If a party does not comply with the terms of a Consent Order, the other party is entitled to make a Contravention Application. The defaulting party may be sanctioned by the Court.

Parental responsibility means all of the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that parents have in relation to their children.

Each parent ordinarily has parental responsibility for the child regardless of whether they are married, in a de facto relationship, never in a relationship or otherwise. This means that both parents can independently make decisions about the child.

When the parents of a child under the age of 18 separate, they both continue to share parental responsibility for the child in this way.

If the parents would like to create a legal obligation to jointly make major long-term decisions relating to the child’s welfare and upbringing, they should make or request a court order for Equal Shared Parental Responsibility. ‘Major long-term issues’ includes things like where a child will go to school, major health decisions, and religious observance.

Equal shared parental responsibility is not the same as equal time.

A court may decide it is in the best interests of the child to remove parental responsibility from one or both parents. A court can also decide to assign parental responsibility to a legal guardian.