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Custody, Parenting Arrangements & Plans

Separating can cause confusion about parenting arrangements. Contact the experience Family Law team at Pearsons Family Lawyers for first FREE appointment so you know where you stand.

Know Where You Stand

Child Custody Lawyers Melbourne

Dealing with parenting matters requires a depth of legal experience and great sensitivity. The outcomes can have implications for generations.

Key legal areas include:

  • Custody/live with arrangements;
  • Parenting arrangements and time spent with the child;
  • Grandparent rights;
  • Alterations to existing Court Orders;
  • Interstate and overseas travel protocols and relocation;
  • Advice on mediation and alternate dispute resolution options;
  • Parenting plans;
  • Consent Orders;
  • Recovery of children;
  • Relocation of children;
  • Parental Responsibility issues such as:
    • school selection;
    • choice of religious sacraments including baptisms, confirmations and communions; and
    • medical procedures.
Child Custody

Parenting Arrangements & Plans

There are a number of ways separating parents and others having an interest in children can negotiate the future parenting of the children. Often parties will negotiate matters themselves deciding who the children should live with and what time the other parent should spend with them.

It may be a good idea to organise a routine for the children so that everybody knows where they stand in relation to extracurricular activities, schooling arrangements and their own private and personal plans.

Arrangements can remain flexible. Alternatively, some couples choose to formalise their arrangements either by way of Court Orders or a parenting plan. A parenting plan is not enforceable.  Other parents choose to have the formality of sealed Court Orders which are enforceable.

Parties are usually assisted by attending a mediation session to discuss any outstanding issues that may arise between them when making plans for the care of the children. Our team of Family Lawyers can provide you with all the necessary information you need to participate effectively in and make the most of the mediation process. 

The focus should always be what is in the best interests of the children taking into account their welfare, care and development so that they can live their best lives possible despite the separation of their parents.

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Child Custody

Custody & Living Arrangements

The terminology “custody and living arrangements” are often used to describe where children will live and what time they spend with the other parent.

In almost every case there is a presumption that both of the parents will continue to have “joint parental responsibility” for the care, welfare and development of the children. This deals with long term and significant issues such as those regarding health, religion and education.

Both parties need to consult each other as to where the children will live, what school they will attend, medical procedures and any psychologists or mental health care treatment they receive as well as any other matters relating to their significant care and welfare.

As to the day-to-day arrangements parties usually formulate a plan between themselves as to what meets the children’s best interests. However, if they cannot agree they can arrange for assistance through a mediation centre or a lawyer.

Pearsons Lawyers can help you navigate the various options available regarding the care of children by providing advice as to what routines would be possible and realistic in the “eyes” of the Family Court.

Pearsons Lawyers can also point you in the right direction as to how to obtain assistance in the event that you are unable to negotiate a solution either through mediation or the Court.

Video Series

Divorce & Children

> Watch Full Video Series Here

Overview

Transcript
Hi, welcome to Video 1 of Module 3. My name is Helen Chetcuti. I’m a Senior Associate at Pearsons Lawyers. If this is the first video you’ve seen, I highly recommend you go back to Module 1. Module 1 contains two important checklists of actions that you need to take right now before proceeding further. To get there, visit Pearsons YouTube channel, or Pearsons website and follow the links.

This module contains a four videos dealing with divorce and children. One of these videos is this overview that you’re watching now. Video 2 deals with children and custody arrangements. Video 3 deals with family violence and the protection of children. And Video 4 I’ll walk you through the mediation process and the court process. So, if you’re ready to begin please proceed to Video 2 of Module 3.

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at https://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check so that we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may not be able to talk to you. Whatever it is that you choose, it is our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you ‘know where you stand’.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

No advice
This website contains general information about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

Limitation of warranties
The legal information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter, you should consult Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd or another professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

> Book Your Free Appointment

Who Gets Custody of the Kids

Transcript

Hi, this is Video 2 of Module 3. My name’s Helen Chetcuti and I’m a Senior Associate at Pearsons Lawyers. If this is the first video you’ve seen, then I highly recommend you go back to Module 1. Module 1 contains two checklists of important actions that you need to take right now before proceeding further. To get there, please visit Pearsons’ YouTube Channel,or Pearsons’ website and follow the links. Otherwise, if you’re ready, let’s begin.

The obvious question in divorce and children’s manners is what arrangements do we come to in respect to our children? In terms of the decision making powers, they are your children, this will depend on who generally makes the decision and there is a presumption that decision making will be shared.This is often called shared parental responsibility, and means that both parents generally share decision making in respect to a child.

However, where this is not practical, or there are issues of risk, this may not be possible, and therefore the court will make or, an agreement can actually assign, sole parental responsibility to one party. In other situations there may be grandparents, or the parties, concerned with the care, welfare and development of a child who require that decision making power. And in those situations, orders or written agreements can also be made providing sole parental responsibility for those parties or other parties to share in that responsibility.

In terms of who a child lives with and spends time with – they’re the new terms that we are now applying (as opposed to custody of a child). Who a child will live with or spend time with will depend on the interests of the child and the composition of your family.

In looking at what’s in the best interest of the child the court will consider and balance the need for a child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. Also, against the need of any risk factors or violence issues, that may be occurring within the home.

In addition the court will look at factors such as the age of the child,wishes expressed by the child, any other siblings of the child, and any other family relationships that this child may have, the cultural background of the child, such as if they are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, and other factors of the day to day welfare of that child.

And in doing so the court will then look at what arrangement best suits the child. In terms of views expressed by a child, I’m often asked the question as to whether a child can give evidence in a family court situation, and the child does not give evidence; does not go into a courtroom. Rather,their voice is heard through other mechanisms, such as a family report could be prepared, which is a psychologist to the court, prepares a report with the parties and the child and writes a recommendation for the court to consider.

In other situations an independent juror’s lawyer who is the lawyer for the children may be appointed to gather evidence surrounding the child’s life,whether it be a Score Report, or other reports necessary, and to provide a neutral perspective on behalf of the child, away from that of the parties.

So again, who gets custody of a child will really depend on the facts of your case, and also whether you require, to actually litigate matters, a court order or whether you require a parenting agreement, a registered parenting agreement, or a verbal agreement. If you’re having a verbalagreement, then you don’t necessarily have to have any of these other issues written down. And if it’s a written agreement, obviously these matters will need to be addressed.

So in a nutshell, who gets custody of the children is not a straight answer. It will depend on the composition of your family, the facts of your case, and what is in the best interest of your child.

That’s it for this video. If you feel that you’re ready, you can now move on to Video 3 of Module 3.

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at https://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check so that we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may not be able to talk to you.

Whatever it is that you choose, its our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you know where you stand.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

No advice
This website contains general information about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

Limitation of warranties
The legal information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter, you should consult Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd or another professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

> Book Your Free Appointment

Family Violence and Protection of Children

Transcript
Hi, this is Video 3 of Module 3. My name is Helen Chetcuti, and I’m Senior Associate at Pearsons Lawyers. If this is a first video you’ve seen, then I highly recommend that you go back to Module 1. Module 1 contains two important checklists of actions that you need to take right now before proceeding any further. To get there, please visit our Pearsons’ YouTube Channel, or Pearsons’ website and follow the links. Otherwise, if you’re ready, let’s begin.

In the last video I briefly touched on family violence and the presumption of shared parental responsibility. In terms of the decision making of parents, where there are issues of family violence, it may be difficult for parents to share decision making in respect to that child. In such situations depending on the facts of your case, and not all situations, one party may be provided sole parental responsibility where there are risk issues.

Family violence itself has a wide definition in respect to the Family Law Act, and includes physical, verbal, psychological, financial abuse, abuse to pets, and also any behaviour that is coercive or controlling to another party that makes that party feel fearful. It doesn’t mean that in each situation of violence that you will obtain a sole parental responsibility order. It will largely depend on the facts of your case; the interests of your child will be the paramount considerations.

In terms of if you’re experiencing family violence; there are other measures that you can also take in respect to ensuring your safety and that of your children. You may seek support, or also an interventional order, or police assistance if you need to assist you children and ensure your protection.

Family violence is a significant issue for our community, and a crime in our community. It is very difficult for you to often deal with your children’s matters when you are also experiencing violence. It is for this reason I strongly recommend that you obtain the support to assist you to deal with your violence issues and have the support which will be needed as you go through arrangements, to discuss arrangements for your children’s matters.

That’s it for this video. If you feel you’re ready, please proceed to Video 4 of Module 3.

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at https://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check so that we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may not be able to talk to you.

Whatever it is that you choose, its our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you know where you stand.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

No advice
This website contains general information about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

Limitation of warranties
The legal information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter, you should consult Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd or another professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

> Book Your Free Appointment

Mediation or Court

Transcript
Hi, welcome to Video 4 of Module 3. My name’s Helen Chetcuti, and I’m a Senior Associate at Pearsons Lawyers. If this is the first video you’ve seen, I highly recommend you go back to Module 1. Module 1 contains two important checklists of actions that you need to take right now, before proceeding any further. To get there, please visit Pearsons’ YouTube Channel or Pearsons’ website and follow the links. Otherwise, if you’re ready, let’s begin.

In the last few videos we covered a lot of ground, and the obvious question that my clients often ask me is where do we start. Mediation is the first place that you start in trying to make arrangements for your children. Mediation is a cost-effective process, and ensures that parties are actively involved in the decisions and the structure of the time arrangements for their children.

However, in some situations mediation may not be the most effective process. This could be in situations of risk, or urgency, where the only option is to issue to the court urgently for a parenting order.

Prior to issuing any parenting order you need a Certificate of Attempt to Mediation. However, in situations of rgency and risk you can seek an exemption from the court when filing your application.

Mediation Centers themselves are very different. There are some in the community that have nominal charges and each center is different in terms of what they charge parties, and there are also private mediators who can be engaged by parties to assist you in your dispute. So there are a variety of different models of mediation that you may want to access and will suit your family.

In addition, you may have a situation where parties are from different cultures or backgrounds, or linguistic bility, and this is also a factor you need to take into account as to whether mediation will suit you or whether it’s suitable in your case. The Mediation Centers themselves will assist you in providing you with this information, and as to whether they can actually mediate your dispute. In the event that they can’t, you have the option of seeking an exemption from the court and issuing your application for a parenting order.

So in a nutshell, the first place we start is with mediation. It is cost effective; it helps parties to come together to try and reach a resolution about their children. However, in other situations you may not be able to do so. It would depend on the facts of your case, and you may need to seek an exemption from mediation and issue an application with the court.

So, this is the end of this video and this module. If you’re ready to proceed, head on over to Module 4: Divorce and Financial Support.

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at https://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check so that we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may not be able to talk to you.

Whatever it is that you choose, its our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you know where you stand.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

No advice
This website contains general information about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

Limitation of warranties
The legal information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter, you should consult Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd or another professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

> Book Your Free Appointment

Know Where You Stand

Book Your Free Appointment

During your initial free consultation we will:

  • Discuss your circumstances.
  • Answer any questions about the divorce process.
  • Discuss your options.
  • Advise you of your entitlements.
  • Provide you with information about the cost of a divorce and separation.

Call our office or fill in the contact form to book your free appointment.

Office Hours

Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm
(Please note we are closed between 1-2pm)

Wednesday Evenings 5:00pm – 7:00pm
(by appointment only)

> Office Locations

> Call 1300 699 688

Contact Us
Office Hours

Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm
(Please note we are closed between 1-2pm)

Wednesday Evenings 5:00pm – 7:00pm
(by appointment only)

> Office Locations

> Call 1300 699 688

Know Where You Stand
Frequently Asked Questions
Hidden First Field
Can I still see my children during Covid19?

The number of parenting disputes have increased significantly during the restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving parents wondering how to navigate through these challenging times. Ultimately parents are facing a risk versus benefit dilemma of balancing the safety of their children against ensuring that the children spend time with the other parent as per court orders or by agreement.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

Do I have to pay child support if I have lost my job due to Covid19?

The pandemic and the associated restrictions have had a profound effect upon countless Australians particularly in instances of job loss and reduction in work hours. A loss of income affects a parent’s ability to pay child support and the parent in receipt of child support.

If you are paying child support pursuant to a child support assessment you must notify DHHS/The Child Support Agency without delay and advise of any change in your income.

The parent receiving child support should contact Centrelink to consider options available to help them during this difficult time.

Meeting obligations to comply with terms of a Binding Child Support Agreement can also be challenging during these times. These agreements may include payment of school fees, extra circular activities and medical insurance and out of pocket expenses. Such Agreements can only be terminated or varied by a further Child Support Agreement or Court Order. The Child Support Agency is unable to help in these situations.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

Do I need to formalise parenting arrangements?

When separating, parties often have disputes about parenting matters. Often they are able to resolve these disputes by way of direct discussions and negotiations between them, with the assistance of mediation or by negotiating parenting matters through their lawyers.

At Pearsons Lawyers we can provide you with options and advice about parenting matters.

Parties can enter into a Parenting Plan which is a document usually prepared at mediation setting out the agreement reached. The Parenting Plan is not an enforcement Order and is simply an agreement in writing which reflects the intentions of the parties as to how they will parent the children in the future. However, if a party to a Parenting Plan does not comply with its terms then the Parenting Plan can be shown to a Court to evidence the agreement that was in existence between the parties at that point in time.

The best option is to have formal Orders made by consent detailing the parenting arrangements for the children including who has parental responsibility, who the children are to live with, what time they are to spend with the other parent and other matters relating to their relationship with each parent such as involvement in their education and health.

Orders cannot be made about financial matters concerning the children as these are matters in the domain of the Child Support Agency or as agreed in a private Child Support Agreement.
To avoid misunderstandings and disputes about parenting matters, it is highly recommended that formal Orders be made in relation to children.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

Who is responsible for the financial support of the children?

ince the introduction of the Child Support Act and the Child Support Scheme matters relating to the financial support of children are usually dealt with by the Child Support Agency.

At Pearsons Lawyers we can help you in accessing the Child Support Agency website and the estimator to obtain an idea as to the likely amount of child support that is to be paid.

The parent with the children known as the “eligible parent” would usually make an application to the Child Support Agency for an administrative assessment of child support. They would then either elect to collect the child support themselves or alternatively “opt-in” and elect for the Child Support Agency to collect the child support on their behalf. These matters are all achieved administratively.

At Pearsons Lawyers we will advise you about your child support rights or obligations and guide you in achieving a good outcome for the financial support of the children including the possibility of entering into a private contract known as a Binding Child Support Agreement providing for the financial support and maintenance of the children including matters such as private education, health insurance and extracurricular activities.

Sometimes there is a need for urgent financial support in which event Pearsons Lawyers can help you apply to the Court to seek immediate financial support.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

Can I negotiate my own parenting arrangements?

Parents of children are in the best position to understand and negotiate parenting matters concerning their children.

Other than in exceptional circumstances, it is a requirement of the legislation that parents attend mediation with a qualified mediator to assist them in negotiating parenting matters. If the parents are able to reach agreement then the mediator will prepare a Parenting Plan. Parents can then take the Parenting Plan to their lawyers and obtain legal advice including as to whether it is prudent to have the Parenting Plan converted into formal and enforceable Court Orders.

If the parents are unable to reach agreement through the mediation process, the mediator will issue a Section 60i Certificate which simply states that the parents attended mediation and were unable to reach agreement for one or other reason. The parents can then file the Section 60i Certificate when they commence Court proceedings as evidence that they have tried mediation.

It is always beneficial and prudent to obtain specialist Family Law advice from Pearsons Lawyers as to the options available to you. We will guide you through the mediation/Court processes.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

How does child support work?

In 1989 the Child Support Act created the Child Support Scheme. The Scheme is administered by the Federal Government through the tax office and DHHS/Centerlink.

The parent with whom the children live can apply to the Child Support Agency for an administrative assessment of child support.

The Agency uses a complex formula taking into account the number of children, the ages of the children, who the children live with, the number of nights that the children spend with each parent and the incomes of both parents as reported to the tax office to calculate an amount of child support that is payable for the children.

The parent entitled to child support can “opt in” which means they can ask the Child Support Agency to collect child support on their behalf. Alternatively, they can choose not to “opt in” and make private arrangements for payment/collection of child support.

If arrears of Child Support build up the Child Support Agency can retain tax refunds and/or pursue the liable parent for payment of any arrears. Arrears of child support are considered a debt to the Commonwealth Government. Arrears can attract penalties and interest and may result in enforcement proceedings being taken by the eligible parent or the Child Support Agency on their behalf.

If a party is aggrieved by an administrative assessment of Child Support they can make an Application for a review/re-assessment.  The Application is considered by an Objections Officer. If still aggrieved an Application can be made for determination by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. If there is an issue of public policy or a question of law and Application can be made to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court of Australia for consideration by a Judge.

Pearsons Lawyers can help clients negotiating matters concerning the financial support of their children and, where appropriate, negotiating and entering into Binding Child Support Agreements so as to provide financial certainty to the parents and children in relation to the financial support of children moving forward including for educational costs, private health insurance and out of pocket medical and other health care expenses.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

Hidden First Field

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

How do we decide who gets the children?

After separation a dispute often arises as to the living arrangements, supervision and care of the children.  This can be a very traumatic and difficult time for all concerned.

Parents may obtain separate and independent legal advice and can engage Pearsons Lawyers to negotiate a parenting agreement.

Pearsons Lawyers can also assist parties in engaging the services of a mediator or a mediation service to assist them to discuss parenting matters.

If agreement can be reached through lawyers we can formalise a parenting plan into formal Court Orders.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

What happens if we cannot agree on parenting arrangements?

If parenting arrangements cannot be agreed to with through negotiations or mediation Court proceedings may become necessary.

It is only in exceptional cases that the Court becomes involved without the parties attending mediation.

Once the parties have exhausted mediation, if they cannot reach agreement the mediator will issue what is known as a s60i Certificate which simply states that the parties attended mediation and cannot agree.  This is the document that is filed with the Court which enables the parties to ask the Court for help.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

What is the Court process?

To commence the Court process documents need to be prepared and filed detailing what Orders are sought and providing evidence as to why those Orders are appropriate.

If the matter proceeds through the entire Court process there are a number of stages. 

There is the first hearing which usually takes place within 6 to 8 weeks of filing the documents.  After documents are filed and served the other party will have the right to file responding material detailing the orders that they seek and why they seek them.

If there is extreme urgency requiring urgent Orders such as a Recovery Orders or a Relocation Orders these can be dealt with either ex parte or in a matter of days.

At the first Court date the Court will hear any urgent applications and make what is known as “interim parenting orders” and procedural orders.  Procedural orders may be for the parties to attend upon a Family Consultant either within the Court system or privately and to obtain a report for the Court to consider on the next occasion.

On the second Court event the Court will consider any family reports of the Family Consultant and make any further parenting orders as are appropriate and may make other orders for the further and future conduct of the matter including for the matter to proceed to Trial.

From the commencement of the proceedings until the Trial of the proceedings could take anywhere between 1 to 2 years or even more depending upon delays within the Court system, any difficulties encountered with the particular matter and the like.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

What does the Court take into account in decide who the children live with?

The Court considers the history of the care arrangements for the children during the relationship, what care arrangements were in place after the parties separated, any other issues or concerns including mental health issues, drug addiction or alcohol abuse, violence and domestic abuse and any other matters which may impact upon the safety and welfare of the children.

Ultimately the Court is only concerned about the welfare of the children and it is required to make orders which are in their best interests regardless of the demands, wants and needs of the parents.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

How long does it usually take to reach a parenting agreement?

In the best case scenario where parents are able to communicate and cooperate with the assistance of lawyers and/or mediators are able to reach agreement the agreement can be documented and approved within a matter of months.

In the worst case scenario people can “lock horns” and be involved in litigation for many years particularly where children are young.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

When does the child’s wishes get taken into account?

Young children can be easily manipulated by a parent or others and although they may express a wish their wish may be given little or no weight.

As children get older and mature their wishes are given greater weight.

Essentially once children become young teenagers their wishes are given more weight as they can “vote with their feet”.

The children’s wishes are usually brought to the Court’s attention through a Family Consultant who prepares a family report detailing the child’s wishes and give some insight as to how much weight those wishes should be given.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

Do I need a lawyer to reach a custody arrangement?

It is not mandatory to engage a lawyer to help you negotiate parenting arrangements.  Pearsons Lawyers can use their skills and knowledge to:

  • Help guide you through the process;
  • Consider matters which you may not have thought of such as having access to your children’s medical/school documents in the event that there is an Intervention Order in place ect; and
  • Properly documenting any agreement reached and have formal enforceable Orders made by the Court. 

In the absence of an agreement Pearsons Lawyers can ensure that the proper documents are prepared with the relevant evidence to enable the Court to make a decision which is in the best interests of the children and to guide you through the process which would otherwise be extremely difficult and confusing.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

What does it cost to negotiate and formalised parenting arrangements?

If parents can readily reach agreement and formalise that agreement by way of Consent Orders costs can be limited.  The cost will vary depending upon the time and effort required by Pearsons Lawyers. Most lawyers charge an hourly rate which varies depending on the level of expertise, skill and knowledge of the individual lawyer required for your particular case.

If agreement cannot be reached litigation becomes necessary, the cost could escalate. For example, private family reports and psychiatric reports of the parents are expensive.

In some cases a Court appoints an independent lawyer to represent the children, known as an Independent Children’s Lawyer (“ICL”). 

The ICL becomes a party in the proceedings. They gather information and documents such as subpoenas to Police, schools, doctors/paediatricians, DHHS and the like to ensure that all the necessary documents and information required by the Court are available to the Court to enable it to make decisions which are in the best interests of the children.

The cost of any case depends on the complexity of the issues and of the parties. At your first FREE appointment Pearsons Lawyers will provide you with an estimate of your costs applicable to the various stages of your matter and to its conclusion.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

"My little daughter feels safer and my sons are at peace in our home and although we have financial struggles, there is no feeling better than having peace in our home."

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sarah, Melbourne