Family Lawyers are often engaged at an early stage, including at or prior to separation to advise clients as to their parenting rights and the likely outcome were their parenting matter litigated through the Family Law Courts. Following the provision of this advice, we then engage with the other parent or their lawyer to seek agreement about parenting arrangements without recourse to court proceedings.
If these negotiations are successful, we will document the negotiated outcome, either by a Parenting Plan or Consent Orders dependent on the circumstances and the finality of the agreed arrangements.
A compulsory step in most matters is for parents to attempt to reach a negotiated outcome via a mediation process known as Family Dispute Resolution (“FDR”). The legislation requires that this parent mediation occur before a parent can commence a court proceeding for parenting orders. We can arrange a referral to a private FDR practitioner to ensure no time is lost in ensuring parents spend as much time with their children as possible and that formal arrangements are put in place as promptly as they are able to be.
If there remains no prospect of settlement for interim or final parenting arrangements even after FDR, then court proceedings will need to be commenced.
A court may make any number of orders regarding children and these include:-
- orders for who is to make major decisions in the child’s life, for example schooling, religion, immunisations and the like – known as parental responsibility;
- whom children are to live with and spend time, including on application by a person other than the child’s biological parents – for example a grandparent or step parent;
- time spent with each parent on birthdays, school holidays, Christmas, Easter and other special occasions;
- overseas travel arrangements including permission to travel, passports being issued without the other parent’s consent and restriction of travel – known as an airport watchlist order;
- relocation and recovery orders, where one parent wishes to relocate the residence of the children or has already done so without the consent of the other parent or otherwise retained a child to the exclusion of the other parent;
- adoption of children by step parents or other carers;
- parentage testing procedures to determine whether one party is the biological parent of the child;
- location orders where a parent of the child and/or the child’s whereabouts are unknown;
- determination of discrete issues relating to parental responsibility, including a child’s schooling, religion, immunisation or medical procedure and appropriate orders to ensure a child is able to experience cultural aspects of their parents;
- orders ensuring a child’s safety as a result of drug or alcohol abuse by a parent, unacceptable risk or exposure of the child to domestic violence and physical or sexual assault of a child by a parent or carer;
- contravention of existing orders and remedies available where this has occurred; and
- applying for new orders where existing orders are outdated or no longer in the children’s best interests as a result of a change in circumstances.
With extensive experience in all manner of parenting proceedings, Our parenting lawyers in gold coast are able to assist you with your parenting case and ensure your children have an outcome that accords their best interests.