When it comes to divorce, all parents would agree that deciding on parenting arrangements and other children’s issue should be a priority. Making these decisions promptly and amicably can make this time easier not just for children but for the entire family.
To assist you in making these decisions we’re going to equip you with some importation information about children and divorce under the law.
The Family Law Act – Your Rights and Theirs
The Family Law Act and the Family Courts provide guiding principles that protect both you and your children.
Decisions made about children are guided by their right to be properly cared for and protected. When it comes to deciding parenting arrangements, a child’s best interests are paramount.
For parents, the act outlines their responsibility to care for their children, and the courts strive to provide ‘Equal Shared Parental Responsibility’. This emphasises that both parents should be involved in important decision making, but not that they should necessarily share custody equally.
Deciding on Your Own
You and your former partner can agree on parenting matters outside of court. Here are some important decisions to think about:
- Birthdays – how will living arrangements work for birthdays and other special occasions
- Education – what schools should they attend
- Extra-curricular – what parenting attendance is appropriate for sporting and other events
- Relatives – when and where will children spend time with grandparents and other relatives
- Religion – what celebrations will they take part in
- Residence – where will the children live and how often
- Siblings – what will the arrangements be for spending time with siblings and step siblings
- Special needs – what needs and requirements – medical or otherwise – does your child have
- Work – how will your and your ex-partners work affect arrangements
Disputes and Resolutions
If you cannot agree on parenting matters you will more than likely be required to attend Family Dispute Resolution in order to resolve these issues. This process is compulsory in most circumstances and aims to bring about a resolution.
If an agreement contact be reached you can then take the issue to the courts. This is where those principles of a child’s best interest and shared parental responsibility come to the fore.
What is Best Interest?
As a parent, it can be difficult to comprehend a court determining your child’s best interest. The Family Law Act, however, follows a range of guiding concepts and factors.
The act aims to ensure that:
- Children are protected from harm and abuse – physically and psychologically
- Parents are meaningfully involved in a child’s life, wherever possible
- Children can reach their full potential and parents can fulfil their parenting duties
Among other things, the Court will also consider:
- Practical limitations
- The willingness and ability of all parents
- The different backgrounds and traditions of each parent
- The views of the child – the weight of this will depend on their age, maturity, understanding, mental capacity, and other relevant factors
Having all the facts can help you to make the best decision for your children and your family. For more tailored advice for your situation, or to discuss representation for children’s issues, talk to Brisbane’s family law experts. Contact Bartels Lawyers for a free initial consultation and compassionate, practical advice.