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A revamp to the Family Law system? How a Child Custody Lawyer’s role may change because of proposed reform

The family law system has been a subject of scrutiny over the years. The legal framework is made up of specialists (e.g., child custody lawyers) who continue to work within a unique area of law that has a substantial effect on an individual’s family structure. With the recent merger of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia in 2021, the now Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (‘FCFCOA’) was formed to reduce the complex legal processes arising from the dissolution of a relationship. [...]  READ MORE →

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A family law lawyer understands the dissolution of a relationship brings difficult and unforeseen changes to living arrangements. When there are children to a relationship this task is burdened by the extra question of whom and or where the children will live.

Understandably, it is within the court’s interest that children to a relationship are afforded the opportunity to spend equal and shared time with each parent. This is a presumption that is outlined in s 61DA(1) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) which provides for the court to be conscious of this consideration when making a parenting order. [...]  READ MORE →

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A child custody Lawyer details interim parenting applications

A child custody lawyer understands the growing importance of interim parenting applications in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. This is due to the ever increasing delays in the Courts, processing and finalisation of matters.

What is the expected wait time?

Depending on which registry a matter is filed, some parenting matters before the FCFCOA may take up to 3 years before a matter reaches a final hearing. This means that interim parenting orders govern the parenting arrangements between the parents and the children until a judgment is delivered or an agreement is reached between the parties. [...]  READ MORE →

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New family law Critical Incident List

Media Release: New family law Critical Incident List to help make arrangements for children during a time of crisis

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia have issued a statement about a new process to helpmake arrangements for children where no parent is available as a result of death, critical injury, or incarceration relating to family violence:

Media Release: New family law Critical Incident List

Court orders are often needed during these times of crisis. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia can make orders about where children live, as well as orders for parental responsibility which will enable non-parent carers to make appropriate arrangements for children, including enrolling children in school and organising and consenting to medical treatment. [...]  READ MORE →

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Seeking a child custody lawyer to recover your child

There are varying scenarios where a threat, removal or disappearance of a child can take place. A child custody lawyer will be able to advise you on the different responses required depending on the nature of relocation; whether it is international, interstate or within a state. Commonly, the scenarios listed can arise:

  • Flight risk within Australia
  • Unilateral relocation within Australia
  • Disappearance by other party with child
  • Overseas flight risk
  • Child passport alert
  • Overseas child abduction

If the respondent’s whereabouts are unknown and every effort has been made to locate them then a child custody lawyer may advise the option of applying for a location order. This falls under s 67K of the Family Law Act 1975. This order will require an individual (e.g. family or friend) or a Commonwealth department (e.g. Centrelink or ATO) to provide the Court with any information they have or which they will have that may assist in locating the child. If there are no prior parenting orders in place or a party has commenced proceedings asking the Court to make parenting orders the requirements are as follows: [...]  READ MORE →

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How Child Support Lawyers Determine a Child’s Best Interest

It is no easy feat understanding the turmoil and emotional challenge that children endure during a family separation. Whilst lawyers have a duty to their client, child support lawyers will seek to consider the best interests of children as paramount. Child support lawyers understands the court’s perspective and approach to complex family law disputes. Pursuant to section 60CC (2) of the Family Law Act 1975 the Court must have regard to certain primary considerations as set out in the Act, to determine a child’s best interests. [...]  READ MORE →

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Courts can decide that one parent’s opposition to vaccination is based on genuine but unreasonably held beliefs and award sole parental responsibility as to immunisation and vaccinations to the other parent.

In making the order a Court can determine that a parent be awarded sole parental responsibility in respect of all decisions relating to the children’s immunisation and vaccination and can forthwith do all acts and things necessary to ensure that the child receives the childhood vaccinations/immunisations as are recommended by the child’s treating general practitioner by reference to the current National Immunisation Program Schedule published by the Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing. [...]  READ MORE →

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Complete consideration of a parent’s financial circumstances may be required when ordering parentaltime that necessitates air travel.

For example, during COVID-19 lockdowns, Australian citizens were prohibited from leaving Australia unless they were given permission, and at times were even prohibited from travelling across state borders. The list of circumstances which might secure permission did not obviously identify travelling to spend time with a child who lives elsewhere. The only category which might apply is for travel on compassionate or humanitarian grounds. In these circumstances, on the assumption (which is not made) that a parent obtained permission to travel either overseas or interstate as often as the Court orders provide to enjoy the benefit of contact with their child, on return the parent must quarantine at a designated facility in the port of arrival for 14 days. The cost of quarantine would be the travelling parent’s responsibility. Thus, the travelling parent would be unable to work for an additional six weeks annually and incur substantial costs that were not originally contemplated. [...]  READ MORE →

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To some people, issues relating to child custody during a marriage breakdown and divorce can appear fairly straightforward however, that is not always the case. In various proceedings to determine such matters there have been issues raised by the Court where evidence of a single expert psychiatrist may be required.

In the recent matter of X, the Court sought expert evidence in relation to if the child was too young to sustain significant separations from one of his parents. Questions about a child’s capacity to form memories and the age at which a child might be expected to sustain memories and connection to an absent parent. [...]  READ MORE →

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In August 2021 the Court in the case of Denham & Newsham [2021] decided in relation to a child custody matter that a parent could not relocate with their 3-year old son to Belgium. A prior decision in February 2020 (before the COVID-19 pandemic fully began) could not have contemplated the health disaster that would unfold and at the time there were no restrictions on travel between the two countries. The original decision included the provision for the non-relocating parent to travel to Belgium three times each year and that the child would return to Australia during the Australian summer each year, the Court finding that such arrangements would maintain a meaningful relationship between the non-relocating parent and child. [...]  READ MORE →

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Issues of Risk and Supervised Time in Child Custody Disputes: The Re Andrews Principle

Issues of risk in child custody disputes typically arise in circumstances of family violence. One solution that is commonly proposed to reduce issues of risk is supervised time. The purpose of supervised time is to protect the children from any unacceptable risk of harm. Time is supervised by an independent supervisor or a trusted family member or friend.

Supervised time may also be suitable in child custody arrangements where one parent’s caregiving capacity is impaired and supervised time ensures the child’s needs are met. [...]  READ MORE →

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How Do I Get Equal Child Custody of My Kids?

An equal time arrangement for children is typically called a “week about” arrangement. That arrangement involves the children spending one full week with one parent and then one full week with the other parent on an ongoing basis. Sometimes an equal time arrangement may take other forms across a fortnight or month arrangement such as the children spending Monday to Thursday with one parent and Friday to Sunday with the other.

When deciding on child custody arrangements, the primary consideration should be the best interests of the child. How will the children cope spending a week away from the other parent and the shifts in household over the school term? Is the arrangement reasonably practical and are both parents able to communicate with each other? [...]  READ MORE →