Children

We are dedicated family lawyers with your child’s best interests at heart.

There is nothing more important than looking after your children. Our child Custody lawyers look to help parents and grandparents with their rights and navigate the Family Law Act.

Making arrangements for the care and custody of children after divorce or separation can be difficult. There are a million and one things to think about. The time that you will see your children and where they will live is important. Knowing what your rights are as a parent cannot be understated.

The best interests of the children are paramount. Time spent with each parent and other arrangements need to be considered carefully so that you children have the ability to develop a meaningful relationship both parents.

The family court not only looks at children having a continuing relationship with their parents but, also their grandparents and other family or non-family members that have important relationships with the child. The key elements are similar for parents and non-parents seeking custody with the child.

Parental Responsibility

A parenting matter under the Family Law Act is broken up into two parts; parental responsibility and time.

  • Parental Responsibility
    The major long-term decisions in a child’s life. This includes where they live, where they go to school and their religion.
    The presumption is that both parents will share this equally when you separate.
  • Time
    When the child will see the other parent.

In the heat of the separation you may not have had the opportunity to properly consider what’s in your child’s best interests. Taking time to get advice about the rights you have as a parent means that you can focus on what really matters.

There are two ways that you can come to a solution regarding your children’s arrangements. A parenting plan or Court orders.

Parenting Plan

  • A written plan about your child’s arrangements following separation
  • Non-binding
  • Can be prepared by yourselves, following mediation or by a solicitor
  • Is a flexible option

Court orders

  • Can be by agreement or ordered by a Judge
  • Is binding and enforceable
  • Sets a clear plan and pathway for the child

Regardless of how you would like to set out the parenting arrangements it is crucial that you get legal advice so that the arrangements are as future proof as possible.

Our family lawyers have a deep understanding of child custody laws and can help make mediation effective by defending you and directing the conversation.

Mediation

Not all separating parents see eye to eye. A helpful tool is to attend mediation with a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner to try and come to an agreement together about your children.

This is a good opportunity to resolve the issue in an informal setting. As such it is important to get the right advice before attending a mediation. This will ensure that you understand the process and what a fair and reasonable outcome might look like in your individual circumstances.

Family law matters are all unique and individual and this makes it harder to determine what is fair and reasonable. You will also need to understand how a court views what is in the best interests of the child in practice. Getting the right custody legal advice early will help you resolve your matter sooner.

If you cannot reach a resolution at mediation Then a section 60I certificate will be issued and that can be used to go to Court to ask the Judge to make a decision about your child.

Going to Court

Most family law matters do not go to Court. If an agreement cannot be reached then a Judge will make their decision as to what they consider is in the best interests of the child. After hearing from experts and the parents the Judge is empowered to make a decision.

It is very important to have professional and organised legal representation, as the outcome may have serious impact on you and your family and how you spend time with your children.

The court works from the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility and considers the independent facts around the case. Our lawyers can help prepare your case in the best possible light and ensure that the allegations from the otherside are carefully considered and responded to.

FAQs

Do I need a lawyer for a child custody case?
How do I get custody of my child?
Can I change a parenting plan?
Can I challenge a court order or have a court order changed?
What can I do if the other parent breaches the court order?

Do I need a lawyer for a child custody case?

You may not need a lawyer, but having a lawyer can be quite beneficial in defending your rights and getting an outcome you are happy with. Child custody matters are complex and the outcomes are expensive to appeal if you are unsatisfied with the result. Your lawyer will have represented many people with different circumstances and allegations against them. We have successfully helped people even when their case looked difficult.

How do I get custody of my child?

Joint custody or joint parental responsibility is automatic under Australian Family law. You can outline how this works by a parenting agreement or if not apply for a court order. The court assumes that each parent has equal rights but will assess your circumstances and decide on what is in the best interests of the child. This may mean that one person is given more decision-making rights than the other.

Can I change a parenting plan?

A parenting plan can be amended or changed. It is expected that this would be the case as over the child’s life their needs change. This can be done as a new agreement or just as an amendment to the old agreement. If disputes arise you may have to go to mediation or through the court process again.

Can I challenge a court order or have a court order changed?

You can challenge a court order and apply to the court to have your case heard if there are changes to the circumstances.

What can I do if the other parent breaches the court order?

If a parent breaches a court order there are several remedies depending on the severity of the breach. If the breach is a major breach such as not delivering a child home, then you can contact the police to enforce the order. If they are more minor breaches but continual then you should record these for future reference and discuss them with the other parent. If they do not stop breaching the order you may have to seek legal advice and apply to court to enforce the order. The court can award you compensation and penalise the offending parent.

Call us now on 1300 907 335  and to us speak confidentially and obligation free or submit an email using the contact form above.

Our Locations

Melbourne CBD

Level 15,
440 Collins Street,
Melbourne VIC 3000

Chadstone

Level 8,
1341 Dandenong Rd,
Chadstone Vic 3148

Dandenong

Level 2,
311 Lonsdale St
Dandenong Vic 3175

Frankston

Ground Flr,
435 Nepean Hwy
Frankston Vic 3199

Moorabbin

Level 1,
441 South Road
Moorabbin Vic 3189

Preston

Ground Flr,
84 Hotham St,
Preston Vic 3072

Sunshine

Level 5,
12 Clarke Street
Sunshine Vic 3020

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