Children & Parenting Orders Brisbane

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 are your Family Lawyers in Brisbane who understand how stressful and confusing a separation and Divorce can be to children. This is the framework of our approach to 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 an outcome that is in the best interests of the children. Issues which should be addressed include:

    • parental responsibility;
    • with whom the children will live;
    • the time the children will spend with each parent;
    • when the children will communicate with each parent; and
    • other general provisions regarding the care, education and development of the children.
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Parenting arrangements can be made through informal agreement between the parents, by a formal written Parenting Plan or by Court Orders. Court Orders can be either Consent Orders which are agreed to by the parties or by Order of the Court following Court proceedings.

There is no easy answer to the question of which method is better. Choosing the right option will always be dependent upon the individual parties and their personal circumstances.

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All parenting arrangements should deal with the following:

    1. Who the child will live with;
    2. The time that the child will spend with each parent;
    3. How parents consult on major long-term issues relating to the child; and
    4. Any other matter that the parties wish to address.

It is important to remember that your ability to enforce your rights under these arrangements is dependent upon the kind of parent arrangement you have entered into.

Where you are unable to communicate effectively with the other parent, it is likely that it would be in the best interest of the child that the court formalise your arrangements by Court Orders.

The Family Lawyer You Can Trust

    It is often of assistance to attend mediation with the other parent to negotiate Parenting arrangements for your children. Unless certain exceptions apply, it is a requirement that mediation is attempted before a parent can apply to the court for parenting Orders. The purpose of Family Mediation is to resolve disputes between parents in an environment which is less adversarial than through the courts. A third-party mediator will lead the mediation. This mediator, listens to both sides, helps identify the issues to be resolved, and suggests how issues can be overcome in a manner which is in the best interest of all the parties, including any children

    Parental responsibility refers to all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authorities which parents have in relation to children.

    Parental responsibility can be ‘equal shared’ (shared by both parents) or ‘sole’ (held by one parent). Where parents have equal shared parental responsibility, they are required to make a genuine effort to consult with each other regarding major long-term issues concerning the child. These issues may include the following:

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      1. The education of the child;
      2. Decisions in relation to the child’s health and medical procedures;
      3. Religion and cultural upbringing;
      4. Changing the child’s name;
      5. Travel for the child; or
      6. Living arrangements for the child.

    The court takes the default position with respect to children that it is in the best interest of the child for parents to have equal shared parental responsibility unless an exception applies. A common example of an exception to this is where there is family violence, whether against the child or another member of the family.

    Our Team of Family and Parenting Lawyers can guide you through the legal process of seeking a fair parenting arrangement as quickly as possible.

    If you would like more information on this topic we suggest that you refer to the following information:

    What To Expect From Your 1 Hour Consultation

    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.

    Attend A 1 Hour Consultation With Our Family Lawyer

    You will have the opportunity to ask questions and obtain clarification on your specific situation.

    Prepare A Step By Step Plan to Progress Your Matter

    Our Lawyers will explain the legal process to progress your specific situation.

    We will provide you an initial minimum estimate of the fees for your matter.

    You will subsequently be provided a written estimate of fees for each stage of your matter.

    Work Towards The Best Outcome For You Quickly

    Our aim is always to settle your matter as quickly as possible ensuring your interests are protected.

    Parenting Plan

    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.

    Parenting Orders

    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.

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    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.

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