CHILDREN'S ISSUES

Children’s Issues

At the heart of Family Law is legislation which seeks to protect children – the innocent, vulnerable and the ones with the “rights”.

It is the child’s right to be known, loved and cared for by BOTH parents.

It is the child’s right to be properly cared for in their own home surrounded with loving relationships, good food, healthy fun, consistent education. They should be secure and happy. Stability, stability, stability…is the key.

It is NOT a parent’s RIGHT to own a child – not “my child”, “my boy/girl”, “my kids”, but rather “our child”, “our boy/girl”, “our kids”. Nor is it a parent’s right to demand that a child spend time with them under any condition. A child’s relationship with a parent must be appropriate and meet certain reasonable criteria – eg. is the child primarily in the care of that parent when spending time/living with them? Are the child’s best interests paramount? Is the child exposed to domestic violence or harm? Is the child exposed to drug or alcohol use/abuse? Is the parent able to properly feed, clothe and care for the child and financially support the child?

Under no circumstances should a child be exposed to domestic violence or any unacceptable risk or harm.

When people separate sometimes they are able to continue to respect one another, (sometimes remaining like best friends who can’t live together anymore) and can successfully co-parent out of their mutual love for their children and with cooperation, consideration and with the best interests of their children paramount. Many people can’t.

Many parents need to formalise arrangements for their children, to ensure stability, security and routine is maintained in their lives as they move between two households. Also and most importantly, that an ongoing close loving relationship is nurtured with BOTH parents.

Long term arrangements include such issues as schooling, religious upbringing, discipline issues, medical treatment, cultural issues and living situation. Day-to-day issues include days and times in each household, special occasions and travel arrangements.

There are 2 ways to finalise and formalise arrangements for children:

1.  The “Nice” Way – you and your spouse/partner AGREE (by consent) and execute paperwork

either

  • Parenting Plan – a written agreement the parties agree to adhere to, but is NOT legally enforceable

What we do – take instructions, give legal advice, negotiate with your spouse/partner and/or their lawyer, draft the Parenting Plan, and execute the documentation with you.

or

  • Consent Orders from the Family Court – documentation can be drafted and filed at the Court, which is perused by a Registrar (like a solicitor who works for the Court) and if deemed appropriate is sealed by the Court, as enforceable Orders. Consent Orders does not require mandatory Independent Legal Advice, though highly recommended, and the parties can otherwise sign off such paperwork with a Justice of the Peace.

What we do – take instructions, give legal advice, negotiate with your spouse/partner and/or their lawyer, draft the Application and the Consent Orders, execute the documentation with you, file at Court and obtain final Orders.

2.  The “Nasty” Way – you and your spouse/partner DISAGREE or your spouse/partner absconds with the children without your knowledge or consent – and you go to Court. This is a very stressful option, but one which you may have to take if you and your spouse/partner or either cannot come to an agreement as to HOW to continue to co-parent your children though separated. This should be your last resort.

What we do – take instructions, give sensible and cost effective legal advice, draft the Application and accompanying documents, execute the documentation with you, file to Court, serve on your spouse/partner, attend the Court hearing/s, negotiate with your spouse/partner and/or their lawyer, and act in the best interests of your children and obtain final Orders.

Contact Sempre Vero Lawyers to discuss your children’s issues with an experienced solicitor.

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