PARENTING & CHILDREN
THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD
Even though you are separating, both parents are the most important people in children's lives. The best arrangements for the future are those where:
the children continue to have a loving and meaningful relationship with their parents and other family members,
both parents continue to share responsibility for their children,
the children live in a safe environment, with no violence or abuse.
It is natural for all involved to be worried about the effect of separation on children and parents can have many unanswered questions: Where will the children live and who will care for them? Who will stay living in the house? Who will have responsibility for making decisions for the children?
We have the necessary skills and experience to assist you to consider all the issues that will have an impact on the best interests of your children, and we can also refer you to relevant professionals who can assist you with your practical and emotional issues.
MAKING ARRANGEMENTS BY AGREEMENT
Court can be unavoidable for some families, however a large number of separated parents usually find that, with some trained legal assistance, they can actually reach an agreement on future arrangements for their children and avoid lengthy, costly and stressful court proceedings. In this situation we can assist you to either make a parenting plan with your former partner, or to obtain consent orders from the court.
Parenting Plan - This is a written agreement, created by the parties, that sets out parenting arrangements. It differs from consent orders or a parenting orders in that it is not legally enforceable. For many families, whose situations can change and need some re-negotiation, it can be a suitably flexible arrangement that does not require contact with the court system.
Consent Order - This is a written agreement between parties that is approved by a court once it is satisfied that the agreement submitted is in the best interests of the child. Consent orders have the same legal affect as a parenting order devised by a court, and cannot be changed by a parenting plan. These orders are much simpler and faster than making a family law application for parenting orders and can also be applied for any time after a parenting order application has been initiated.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU CAN'T AGREE ON PARENTING AGREEMENTS?
Parenting Orders - These are orders about the care and welfare of children made by a court, when parties cannot reach an agreement. This is a last resort, and as such parties must show they have engaged in compulsory pre-action procedures before making an application – unless there are exceptional circumstances.
At Universal Lawyers, we can assist you with pre-action procedures, which include attending a Family Dispute Resolution Centre. We can also help you understand if your circumstances make you exempt from these procedures.
FINDING OPTIONS THAT SUIT YOUR SITUATION
At Universal Lawyers we can assist you with all your parenting issues, including:
Court approved consent orders
Applications for parenting orders
Responsibility for care, welfare and development of children
Negotiating ‘live with’ and ‘spend time with’ children
Enforcement and breaches of parenting orders