Children are the major focus of any Family Law related matter which is why our
Family Lawyers encourage both parties to collaborate amicably and reduce the impact of the separation on your children. A.L.F. Lawyers is your Family Lawyer in Brisbane who understands how stressful and confusing a separation and Divorce can be to children. This is why we work with you to obtain a fast, amicable agreement with the best interest of the children as the primary focus.
The Family Law Act stresses the importance of achieving what is best for the children as far as Parenting. Without a Parenting Plan or a Parenting Order to the contrary, after separation, both parents will retain equal shared parental responsibility for all aspects of the children and have an obligation to collaborate and agree with each other in decision that are relevant and important to the them.
Where parents can reach an agreement with respect to their children, our Brisbane Family Lawyers can assist in preparing a Parenting Plan or a Consent Order which details the conditions of the agreement reached.
In considering Parenting Arrangements, the predominant focus is what will be in “the best interests of the child” as opposed to the parents, including who the child lives with and how much time the child spends with each parent.
It is often of assistance to attend mediation with the other parent to negotiate Parenting Arrangements for your children. There is usually a requirement that you attempt mediation before you can make an application for Parenting Orders.
It is important for parents to agree on Parenting Arrangements by consent wherever possible rather than the Courts having to intervene. Some parents prefer informal arrangements, such as verbal agreements but others prefer formalised agreements or Consent Orders.
The alternative is what is commonly referred to as a “Parenting Plan”. This is a voluntary agreement setting out what arrangements the parents have made for the children. A plan covers more than the day to day living arrangements and also specific matters, such as schooling, travel, religion and medical issues.
A.L.F. Lawyers can assist in drafting a Parenting Plan that best suits the arrangements in place. We also recommend parents use the assistance of great organisations such as Relationships Australia where they require some help in coming to an agreement through resolution.
Another approach is to obtain Parenting Orders. These are orders made by the Family Court about arrangements for your children. Parenting Orders state with whom a child will live, how parents are to communicate with each other, where a child goes to school, who has parental responsibility for a child and also if the child can travel overseas or move away.
The extent of your parenting orders will depend on your specific circumstances. When applying to the Court for Parenting Orders, your instructions must be specific and enforceable by the Court.
Couples can choose a Parenting Plan or a Parenting Order as there is no legal requirement to obtain Parenting Orders from the Court unless you or your partner prefer this option.
Child Support Agreement
A Child Support Agreement is a formal agreement signed by both parents to provide for the financial support of the child. A Child Support Agreement must meet the requirements of the legislation and include matters that can be dealt with in a child support agreement. Each parent must obtain independent legal advice before entering into a binding agreement and each solicitor must sign a certificate of legal advice and attach this to the Child Support Agreement.
Once parents have made a Child Support Agreement, either parent can apply to the Registrar to have it accepted.
Some examples which illustrate where a formal child agreement is appropriate;
- Where education costs are a factor and parents agree to share these costs;
- Where the child may require considerable medical care;
- Where the child requires considerable dental care;
- Where agreement is reached between parents for one parent to retain the family home, an investment or shares as part of a settlement in lieu of child support.
Our Family Lawyers have years of experience in Family Law in Brisbane. We speak your language and do our best to simplify the complexity of Family Law.
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