If you have separated from your spouse or de facto partner and have children of that relationship, you will no doubt have numerous questions about child custody. These questions often include:
- Who will the child/children live with?
- How much time will they need to spend with the other parent?
- What will happen on special days including Christmas and birthdays?
- How will both parents be kept “in the loop” in regard to important decisions such as education and health?
In child custody matters, the best interests of the child are paramount and the Court will apply the presumption that both parties at the very least will have an equal say in decisions relating to the child/children in areas such as health, education, and religion. This is referred to as equal shared parental responsibility.
The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility does not mean that each party will spend equal time with the children. The Court will assess each case and each parent’s individual circumstances before determining the amount of time the child/children should be spending with each parent.
Q. We have reached a private agreement, how do we formalise this?
A. In the event you are able to agree as to the future arrangements for your children, this agreement can be formalised by entering into a Parenting Plan or by issue of Consent Orders. You will not be required to attend Court if either of these agreements are reached.
Formston Bromfield Lawyers are available to assist you the drafting of these documents to ensure that no issues are left open for interpretation upon finalisation of the documents.
Q. What if my ex-partner and I are unable to agree?
If your differences are unable to be settled, you may need to seek the assistance of the Court to make Parenting Orders. Before commencing proceedings in the Court, you are first required to participate in Family Dispute Resolution with the other party in an effort to resolve the dispute. With the exception of a limited number of circumstances, the Court will not be able to consider your matter until this obligation has been complied with.
If Family Dispute Resolution does not yield a positive result, you will be issued with a certificate from your Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner that will enable you to make an application to the Court to determine the future care arrangements of your children.
Formston Bromfield Lawyers are experienced in this process, and we can provide advice in regard to the complexities of your specific situation as well as guide you through what can be a stressful and confusing process. Contact us to discuss your specific situation today, so that we can alleviate some of the concerns you may be experiencing.
If you have separated from your spouse or de facto partner and have children of that relationship, you may be entitled to receive child support to assist with the financial care of your children. If you are able to negotiate payment of child support, this agreement can be formalised by entering into a Limited Child Support Agreement or Binding Child Support Agreement.
Where agreement is not reached, an application can be made to the Child Support Agency who will the assess the amount of Child Support payable by the other parent. The amount of child support payable varies according to your specific circumstances and is calculable upon consideration of the income of both parties, the cost of the care of the children, and the percentage of time the children spends with each parent.
Q. What if my ex-partner fails to pay?
A. The Child Support Agency has the power to investigate and enforce payment, which includes the power to collect the payment from employers, the tax office, and any social security benefits.
Q. Can I overturn a decision made by the Child Support Agency if it is not fair?
A. You have the right to object to the decision within 28 days. An internal review of the decision will take place within 60 days of the objection being filed. Should the decision be upheld upon the internal review, you can continue to appeal this decision by applying for a review through the Social Security Appeals Tribunal.
At Formston Bromfield Lawyers we understand that child support issues can be sensitive and difficult to work through, which is why we pride ourselves on being dedicated to helping you find your way through the process and the legislation.
If you would like to arrange a consultation with one of our lawyers to obtain legal advice based on your particular circumstances, please complete an ‘Online Enquiry’ form or contact us using any of the details provided on our Contact Us page.