If you have children, one of the many things you will come up during your divorce and will need to be discussed with your family lawyer is Children’s Orders sometimes also referred to as parenting orders.
What are Parenting Orders?
These are directives made by the family court about parenting arrangements for the child. But it not just parents who can apply for parenting or children’s orders, grandparents or anyone else concerned with the care, development and welfare of the child can apply for a children’s order.
But what sort of parenting orders can the court make and how do they decide what orders are applicable?
Parenting Orders Your Divorce Lawyer Can Get
There are many misconceptions about how children’s arrangements are dealt with in Court. The most common of these is that children will automatically live with their mother. Another misconception is that the court will automatically order 50/50 time. When ascertaining what Orders should be made, the Court considers what is in the best interests of each child. This involves balancing two key considerations:
- The benefits of the child having a meaningful relationship with each parent; and
- Any safety issues, including the existence or risk of abuse or family violence.
Of course, a child’s safety and well being takes priority.
Other factors that the family court considers in when ascertaining what is in a child’s best interests includes the following:
- Any views expressed by the child and any factors (such as the child’s maturity or level of understanding) that the court thinks are relevant to the weight it should give to the child’s views;
- The child’s relationship with each of their parents, or other key people in their lives. This can include grandparents, half siblings etc.
- The extent to which each of the child’s parents has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity to spend time with the child, communicate with them and to participate in making long term decisions about the child
- The extent to which each of the child’s parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfill, the parent’s obligations to maintain the child. This can include financial assistance.
- The likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances, including being separated from certain people such as parents, siblings etc
- Whether there is any practical difficulty or expense relating to children’s arrangements. This is often relevant where one person is planning on moving interstate, overseas or to a faraway suburb.
- The capacity of parents or others to meet the child’s needs, their attitudes towards the child and their attitude towards the responsibilities of parenting
- Facilitating the child to participate in their aboriginal culture, if relevant
- Family violence, and Family Violence Orders
As can be seen from the numerous issues that the courts consider when making Children’s Orders, it is not a simple process and each family will have different circumstances that will be relevant.
Example: If a Parent A is spending time with a child from Saturday to Wednesday, and Parent B seeks to move with the child to an interstate location, there is clearly a practical difficulty in the current arrangement continuing; For school age children, they cannot fly back and forth as this would disrupt their education, for younger children, it might be too disruptive to travel so often. The practicalities and expense is there a relevant consideration and may affect a person’s time with a child or a person’s ability to relocate.
For further advise about children’s arrangements and parenting orders please contact our office to speak with one of our leading family lawyers. Engaging one of our highly recommended family attorneys will ensure you get the best advice and help during this trying time as we have three accredited family law specialists with (jointly) over 90 years experience in helping people just like you get the outcomes they seek. Call (03) 9658 7700 today or visit our offices at:
Glezer Lanteri & Associates Pty Ltd
Level 2, 139 Collins Street