Parenting & Child Custody

Our Family Law Team assists parents every day in the complex area of child custody and parenting orders. We can guide and advise you to help expedite a resolution and ensure that your children’s interests are taken care of.

Child Custody Lawyers

Our Family Law Team assists parents every day in the complex and often emotional area of child custody/parenting arrangements. Where a dispute has occurred, we can guide and advise you to help expedite a resolution and ensure that your children’s interests are taken care of.

At CLW, our child custody lawyers can assist you in reaching a parenting agreement or a consent order on the following matters:

  • Who will make decisions about your child’s welfare;
  • How many nights in each spouses home;
  • Who your child will spend time with, for what length of time and on what basis;
  • Where your child will attend school;
  • What name your child will be known by; and
  • Christmas, birthdays, holidays and overseas travel arrangements.

There are various options that may be available to you including mediation. Where possible, we seek to achieve a satisfactory solution without the need for court. We can assist you by recommending appropriate counselling and mediation services.

If litigation is necessary, we will act for you in all proceedings, drawing on our considerable expertise in this area to work towards the outcome you feel is in the best interests of your children.

Even if you have already reached an agreement, we can assist you in making sure that your agreement is properly recorded so that you can rely on it into the future.

Contact a member of our Family Law Team for insightful guidance in all aspects relating to Children’s Issues and Family Law.

Equal Shared Parental Responsibility

In most cases, the Court presumes that both parents will share parental responsibility for the children. This means both parents are jointly involved and must consult each other when making any major or long-term decisions affecting the child. Examples of such decisions include what school the child should attend or what medical treatment the child should receive.

However, in some exceptional circumstances, the court will grant sole parental responsibility to one parent in some or all areas of parenting. This is often the case where there is evidence of child abuse or family violence.

The Best Interests of the Child

In family law, ensuring that the best interests of the children are met is the primary consideration. Our family lawyers will always have regard for the children’s best interests when giving advice to you about the most appropriate parenting arrangement for your family.

When considering what is in the child or children’s best interests, we are required to consider the following factors:

  • The need for the children to develop a meaningful relationship with both parents;
  • The need to protect the children from any harm or family violence;
  • The views expressed by the child (depending on their age and maturity);
  • The willingness of parents to encourage a relationship between their child and the other parent;
  • The capacity of the parents to provide for the children’s needs; and
  • Any other factor the court deems relevant.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have agreed – do we have to go to Court?

No. If you have agreed you can choose to:

  • Have an informal agreement (verbal or written but not enforceable by a Court)
  • Draw up a Parenting Plan, often with the assistance of a dispute resolution practitioner, counsellor or mediator (not enforceable by a Court)
  • Have a solicitor prepare a “Consent Order” to be lodged at Court but which does not require Court attendance.

Talk to us about what is in the best interests of you and your children.

Are there any prerequisites to making an Application to the Court?

Yes. You usually have to attend a dispute resolution process with an accredited family dispute resolution practitioner before making an Application to the Court for parenting Orders.

In certain circumstances such as urgency or where there has been family violence, the Court may grant you an exemption.

What happens if my children do not want to spend time with the other parent?

This depends on the children’s age, maturity, the reason for the children’s wishes and the background circumstances. What is in the children’s best interests is the primary consideration and isn’t always what they directly ask for.

One of our experienced Family Lawyers can provide you with assistance if your children do not wish to see the other parent or if they do not wish to spend time with you, often to work out why and to propose a way to remedy the underlying problem if possible.

Can I apply for parenting orders for my grandchildren?

Yes. Parents are not the only persons who can apply for parenting orders. The Court permits any person concerned with the welfare of the children to make an application to spend time with a child – this includes parents, grandparents, other relatives and carers.

Do I need my partner’s consent to relocate with our children?

Maybe. If you plan on moving interstate or a long distance or a place that makes the other parents time with children more difficult to take place from where you have been living you will need your partner’s agreement to move or a Court Order. You will be able to move if it is found to be in the children’s best interests to relocate.

You should obtain legal advice from our expert family lawyers before moving or even proposing it.

I am concerned that my partner is going to take the children overseas, what can I do?

If you are concerned that your children may be taken overseas without your consent, our family lawyers can place the children on the ‘airport watch list’. This means that, in the event that your former partner attempts to remove the children from Australia, the Australian Federal Police will be notified and the children will be prevented from leaving the country.

Do I need my partner’s agreement to change our child’s school?

Yes. You will need the other parents agreement or a Court Order to change your child’s school.

How do I change my child’s name?

If you and your partner agree you can apply to change your child’s name through the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. If your partner does not agree, you will need to make an Application to the Family Court.

Meet our dedicated team of family law experts

Family Law Experts each with years of speciality
Rated a 'Best Law Firm' in Doyles Guide 2018
97% of cases settled out of court
Transparent fees

99 York Street, Sydney
1300 997 269
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