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Parenting Matters

Children’s matters after the separation of parents is governed by the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).The same law applies for married couples and defacto couples. Both the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia deal with Children’s matters.  Both Courts apply the Family Law Act when determining arrangements for children after separation. This is general information only in relation to Children’s matters and you should seek legal advice specific to your circumstances.

Equal Shared Parental Responsibility

 From July 2006 there has been a significant change in the way the Courts formulate living arrangements for children after separation.

This significant change in the law saw the introduction of the presumption that both parents should share ‘Equal Shared Parental Responsibility’ for their children. This means that parents should have, where appropriate, the ability to both make together important decisions in relation to their children, for example decisions about health care and schooling.

This presumption DOES NOT mean that children will necessarily spend equal time with each of their parents. Instead, if a Court is satisfied that parents should have Equal Shared Parental Responsibility, equal time may then be considered. If Equal time is not appropriate the Court must then consider an order for significant or substantial time.

Ten Fundamental Principles relating to Children’s matters

1. Ensuring that children have the benefit of both of their parents having meaningful involvement in their lives;

2. Ensuring children are protected from harm;

3. Ensuring that children receive proper parenting to help them achieve their full potential;

4. Ensuring that parents fulfill their duties and meet their responsibilities concerning the care, welfare and development of children;

5. That children have the right to know and be cared for by both of their parents;

6. That children have a right to spend regular time and communicate with their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development including grandparents and other relatives;

7. That parents should share in the duties and responsibilities concerning the care, welfare and development of their child/ children;

8. That parents should agree about the future parenting of their children;

9. That children have a right to enjoy their culture; and

10. The Family Courts will only make orders that are considered to be in the “Best Interests” of children.

If you would like more detailed advice in relation to your specific parenting matters please contact us for an appointment.

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