Child Custody & Children’s Matters

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At Amanda Little & Associates we understand that often the hardest part of a relationship breakdown is the effect it has on the family unit, in particular on children.

The Family Law Act is the legislation that governs the time that the children will spend with each of their parents. The child’s best interest is the paramount consideration when the Court is determining children’s matters, and at the heart of this for a child custody lawyer is the understanding that children need a meaningful relationship with both parents (unless one of the exceptions applies).

Child Custody Lawyer

Our team of Accredited Specialists in Family Law and Senior Family Lawyers are recognised leaders in all aspects of Children’s matters and will provide you with advice on how to reach a resolution that works for your family whilst minimising your legal costs.

If you reach an agreement this can be formalised into a Parenting Plan or into Consent Orders.

Your Child Custody Lawyer can speak to you about which of these is most appropriate based on your circumstances.

What Processes May I Need to Consider Around Child Custody and Family Law Matters Pertaining to My Children?

The court needs to understand as thoroughly as possible the circumstances that make your case unique, therefore the more detail that can be provided, the better.

To help gather these details for the court, there are several processes to consider.

It is important to understand that when a Court consider what arrangements should be in place for children they are bound by the “best interest” principal – that is the Court must ask “What is in the children’s best interests?” and then make Orders that follow suit.

How do I avoid Court and come to an agreement about my children?

You can reach an agreement with the other parent of your children and formalise this agreement in 2 ways:

  1. Consent Orders – which are Orders that are made by the Court confirming the agreement you reach. These are binding on both parties and finalise the arrangements
  2. Parenting Plan – this is an agreement which is flexible, but is not binding on either party

The process of reaching an agreement can be affected by:

  1. Parents agreeing between them as to the future arrangements for their children without outside assistance;
  2. Parents engaging a lawyer to negotiate through letters and telephone calls with the other parent or their lawyer; or
  3. Attending Family Dispute Resolution.

We encourage our clients to try to resolve between them initially, if this does not work then to engage our team and our child custody lawyer to attempt to reach resolution through correspondence and then if required to attend Family Dispute Resolution.

How does the Court determine what is in the children’s best interests?

The child’s best interest is the paramount consideration when the Court is determining children’s matters, and at the heart of this is the understanding that children need a meaningful relationship with both parents unless one of the exceptions applies such as the child being neglected or a victim of family violence or at risk of neglect or family violence

The Court is guided by The Family Law Act –  which sets out the primary and secondary considerations ( s.60CC considerations) the Court must take when determining what is in a child’s best interests – click here to be taken to the legislation.

When gathering your information to provide evidence to the Court as to why your position is what is in the children’s best interests, it is important to keep in mind the s.60CC considitions.

Your child custody lawyer will assist you to prepare a chronology or timeline and gather evidence to show the Court by way of Affidavits and tender materials that what you say is true and correct and the Court should make the Orders you seek.

My Child / Children Have Been Taken Without My Permission, What Can I Do?

You should immediately reach out the parent / person who has taken your child and try to accommodate their safe recovery.

If the person refuses to return your child or refuses to negotiate at all, you can apply for a Recovery Order. This will put recovery of your child directly into the hands of State and Federal Police who will then work to do just that.

What is a Recovery Order?

A Recovery Order is defined under The Family Law Act – you can find a link to the law here.

It is used by the court to order the return of a child / children to the parent of the child, person who lives with the child, or the person who has parental responsibility for the child.

Who is eligible to apply for a Recovery Order?

The primary carer of the child is able to apply for a Recovery Order.

Establishing who is the primary carer is done through either providing an existing Court order or giving evidence to the Court by way of Affidavit

When should I apply for a recovery order?

If your child / children were taken without permission, you should apply for a Recovery Order immediately. The more quickly you take action and start the legal processes, the sooner your child will be back in your custody.

If you take action soon after the child was taken, the court can see it is important to you that the child be returned as soon as possible. This can help you down the road in your ongoing family law matter.

If for some reason you decide to wait, you will need to file for an Initiating Application rather than a Recovery Order. An Initiating Application is not considered an urgent request by the court and will be delayed in its first return for several months.

Where should I apply for a Recovery Order?

The Family Law Act  is a Federal law and is heard by the Federal Magistrates Court or the Family Court.

In some limited circumstances a local court may hear your Recovery Application and they will then transfer the proceedings back to the correct Court.

Your child custody lawyer will discuss with you the best options for your matter and moving forward.

I am in Court and I don’t know what some of the terminology means- help!

Below are some basic explanations of common events or legal terminology used in the Family Court

Wish to discuss your situation with a Child Custody Lawyer?

Please contact us for relevant advice and help in reaching a resolution for your children’s matter

Give us a call!