Dedicated Child Custody 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 countless things you will need to think about, but 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 is the standard legal base line as well as 50/50 parenting rights.

Time spent with each parent and other arrangements need to be considered carefully so that children have the ability to develop a meaningful relationship with both parents.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family court) not only looks at a child having a continuing relationship with their parents, but significant others such as grandparents, other family or non-family members.  The key elements are similar for parents and non-parents seeking custody of a 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 they separate.
  • Time
    When the child will see the other parent.

In the heat of the separation, parents can sometimes be misguided about what’s in your child’s best interests and the family courts perspective. Getting advice from a child custody lawyer in Melbourne can help you gain clarity on the rights you have as a parent. This will avoid unnecessary disputes about child custody so you can focus on what really matters.

There are two ways that you can come to a solution regarding these arrangements: a parenting plan or court orders.

Parenting Plan – a parenting plan is typically:

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

Court Orders – court orders are typically:

  • Can be by agreement or ordered by a judge
  • Is binding and enforceable
  • Sets a clear plan and pathway for the child and parental rights and responsibilities
  • Difficult to amend and make changes

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 is the initial step with a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner for parents to try and come to an agreement together about your child/ren.

This is a good opportunity to resolve the issue in an informal setting. It is important to get the right advice from a child custody lawyer before attending a mediation session. This will ensure that you know what to expect and what a fair and reasonable outcome might look like. Before you sign anything at mediation you should also consider getting advice. This can impact your claim and position.

Family law matters are all unique and individual, and for individuals not familiar with the court judgements it is hard 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 with the best outcome sooner.

If you cannot reach a resolution at mediation, a section 60I certificate will be issued and that can be used to commence family court proceedings.

Going to Court

Most family law matters are not finalised with court orders in a full court proceeding. Your lawyers will try and reach an agreement before a judge will make their decision after proceedings are commenced.

It is very important to have professional and organised legal representation. How a case is setup from the outset will have a bearing on how quickly it settles as well as the outcome andmay have a serious impact on you how you spend time with your child/ren.

The court works from the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility and considers the independent facts around the case. Our child custody lawyers in Melbourne can help prepare your case and ensure that the claims from the other side are carefully considered and responded to.


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 child custody lawyer on your side is beneficial in defending your rights and getting an outcome you are happy with. Child custody matters are complex and the outcomes are expensive or impossible to appeal if you are unsatisfied with the result. Your lawyer will have represented many people with different circumstances and allegations.. Our child custody and child support lawyers in Melbourne 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 through a parenting agreement or by applying for a FCFCOA or family 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 if you do not have a court order or consent order preventing changes. It is expected that this would be the case as a child’s needs change over the course of their life. 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. You will need a family lawyer to help you outline the reasons why and to give your case the best chance of success.

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, 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 from a child custody lawyer 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 for a confidential and obligation-free chat with our child custody lawyers in Melbourne, or submit an enquiry using the contact form above.

Our Locations

Melbourne CBD

Level 14,
90 Collins Street,
Melbourne VIC 3000


Level 2 (UL40),
1341 Dandenong Road,
Chadstone VIC 3148


Level 10,
14 Mason Street,
Dandenong VIC 3175


Ground Flr,
435 Nepean Hwy
Frankston Vic 3199


Level 1,
441 South Road
Moorabbin Vic 3189


Ground Flr,
84 Hotham St,
Preston Vic 3072


Level 5,
12 Clarke Street
Sunshine Vic 3020

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