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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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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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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 →

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Divorce Lawyer Explains the Steps You Can Take if You are Unhappy with Your Final Orders

If you are not satisfied with your Final Orders made by the Court, your divorce lawyer can provide you with some advice about your options of an Appeal. Appeals must be filed within 28 days of the Orders being made.

However, the filing of an appeal does not automatically stop the obligations contained in the Final Orders. As such, your divorce lawyer may advise whether it is appropriate to file an application to stay the Final Orders. If the application for a stay is successful, the Final Orders will not operate until the appeal is decided. [...]  READ MORE →

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What You Need to Show the Court to Obtain a Divorce

In order to obtain a divorce, there are certain requirements depending on whether you have children under the age of 18 years. If you do have children under the age of 18 years, your divorce lawyer will need to demonstrate to the Court that:

  1. Proper arrangements in all the circumstances have been made for the care, welfare and development of the children, or
  2. That there are circumstances by reason of which the divorce order should take effect even though the court is not satisfied that such arrangements have been made.

There is a positive obligation on the Court not to allow divorce orders to take effect unless proper arrangements have been made for the children. Your divorce lawyer will consider the following factors when advising you: whether any child support is being paid, whether both parents are spending time with the children, the health of the children and whether they are attending and progressing in school. [...]  READ MORE →

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4 Important Questions You Should Ask Your Divorce Lawyer

By Carolyn Munk, Principal Family Lawyer. 

Your Divorce Lawyer will tell you that an early practical and cost effective outcome is the best outcome for you and for the family as a whole.

Sometimes in complex matters that is not possible, but in many cases, if the client is well informed then such an outcome is easier to achieve.

Our Divorce Lawyers try to ensure our clients are informed about the following considerations:-

  1. What will be the impact of litigation upon the family and the future of the family to work together
  2. What is my best likely outcome
  3. What are the risks and the worst likely outcome
  4. How much will the legal costs be if I:-
    • Settle the case now
    • Try to see what settlement can be achieved if I participate in mediation
    • Proceed to litigation and let a Judge decide what financial and or parenting Orders should be made for my family.

While the Judges do the best they can in a limited time frame and with a limited knowledge of your family; there are significant Court delays and these are now probably the worst that they have ever been. [...]  READ MORE →