When parents split up the paramount concern is the welfare of the children
When a relationship breaks down and the parties have children under the age of 18 years the parties are provided with free, or reduced cost, assistance by a Federal Government Family Relationship Centre. The Family Relationship Centre will assist the parties to reach an agreement for the welfare and care of their children. This also means assistance in deciding how much time the child or children will reside overnight with each parent.
The time a child spends with his or her parents is taken into account when the Department of Human Services calculates the monthly child maintenance payments of each parent.
What if the Family Relationship Centre can’t help?
Sometimes the Family Relationship Centre is unable to bring the parents to an agreement. An experienced family lawyer will then seek to engage a private, child-focused counsellor to interview the parties, the children, school teachers and other relevant persons including medical practitioners.
The counsellor will then provide a written report for the parties and which report will set out the recommended parenting plan for the parents to follow.
By obtaining such a report, which is called a Family Report, the parties may be saved from the significant cost of a Judge making a decision, and more importantly, save the impact of being involved in a Court trial.
What can you do following a breakup?
Parents will be wise to enrol in a parenting course which will help them understand and react appropriately to the children following the breakup of their family.
It is important to listen to the wishes of the children, and bearing that in mind, not all children handle a week about arrangement as well as other children. There is no legal requirement that they do so. The Court recognises that the child or children spend significant time with both parents.
With a focus on the future welfare of the children, it is our role as solicitors to help you navigate towards a resolution with the other parent, with as little dispute as possible.
As lawyers, we will advise you on what you can and should do depending on your individual circumstances. If you need advice, please call our office on 3267 8066 to make an appointment.