After the breakdown of a relationship involving children (whether a marriage, de facto or same sex relationship) it will be necessary to consider the appropriate arrangements for the ongoing care of the children.
With appropriate advice, it is often possible for parents to reach their own agreement on these issues, which involve decisions as to where a child will primarily live and the time they spend with the parent they do not live with. Agreement can also be reached regarding specific issues, such as education and medical matters.
Where parents are unable to agree on the arrangements for their children, court proceedings may become necessary. In either case, it is the obligation of the parties and the Court to consider the best interests of the children.
There are no hard and fast rules about the time that children should live with or spend time with either parent. The parent with whom the child lives and the amount of time the child spends with the other parent will depend on a number of factors including:-
- the ages and wishes of the children
- whether there are other siblings
- the possible effect to any change in living arrangements
- the role each parent will have in encouraging a continuing close relationship between the children and the other parent
- any family violence involving the children or a member of their family including any final contested Intervention Order that includes the children or a member of the children’s family
- the ability of each parent to cater for the children’s physical emotional and intellectual needs
- the maturity, background (including culture and traditions) sex and lifestyle of the children and of each parent
There is a requirement, before initiating a court application for parenting orders, to attend mediation (See Mediation)
Kelly & McHale Family Lawyers have extensive experience in this delicate area of the family law. Whilst at all times the parties are encouraged to resolve their own issues regarding children this is sometimes not possible and we can assist in litigation that may become necessary.