What happens with the children?
Safety and children’s issues are the most important concerns in the process of separation. If you are worried about your children and what this process means for them, we can help you explore options for parenting arrangements, explain the law to you, and point you in the right direction. We can assist you with mediation and put you in touch with local counsellors and mediators who may be able to assist.
The optimal outcome for your children will depend of lots of things, including their ages, health and education requirements, extra-curricular activities and where each parent will live after separation.
We strongly urge you NOT to agree to an “equal time” arrangement for your children until you have obtained independent legal advice which takes into consideration the needs of YOUR children.
We know that if you have children, when you separate one of your first priorities will be to work out where your children will live and how they will spend time with each parent.
In the past, people have used terms such as “custody” and “access”. Today the Family Law Act refers to children “living with” and “spending time with” each parent. There is no “normal” living or care arrangement post separation. Often a child lives mainly with one parent and spends time with the other parent. Sometimes a child spends equal time with each parent but you cannot assume that this will be the outcome in your case as different arrangements work for different families. What is best for your children is always the most important consideration.
Sometimes parents can reach an agreement about living arrangements for their children but struggle to reach agreement over other matters – perhaps schooling, holidays, medical matters.
We can assist in all areas of post separation parenting issues. If appropriate, we can refer you to counselling and mediation services to help with this process. If you and your partner reach an agreement, we can formalise the arrangements into Court Orders. Court Orders are not necessary or appropriate for everyone. We can talk through the things you need to consider before signing an agreement.
Sometimes, agreement is not possible, or other matters dictate that a Court Application is necessary. Our team has a wealth of experience in Court, we are fearless advocates and we will represent and guide you through this process.
Our family lawyers also have experience acting for other family members including where parents are themselves unable to care for children or where grandparents would like formal arrangements to spend time with their grandchildren.