“My family law matter was made much easier due to the compassion, honesty and support I received from the staff at Duffield & Associates and I thank you all very much.”
At Duffield Solicitors we understand that your children are important to you and that dealing with issues relating to your children, following separation, can be stressful and emotional.
Our caring and experienced legal team are available to guide you through this difficult time, providing you with legal advice which is informative, practical and catered to your individual needs.
At Duffield and Associates Solicitors we always attempt, where possible, to resolve matters amicably between the parties and offer alternatives to court proceedings, wherever possible. If the parties can reach an agreement by consent, we assist parties to finalise these agreements in the form of consent orders.
The Family Law Act 1975 (“the Act”) governs how the court decides matters in relation to children. Under the Act, there is a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the parents to have equal shared parental responsibility. This is, both parties are involved in making decisions in relation to the long term development, welfare and education of the child. Equal shared parental responsibility is rebutted in cases of family violences and child abuse. When making a Parenting Order, the court the best interest of the child remains the paramount consideration. When determining what is in the best interests of the child, the court is required to considered the factors outlined in Section 60CC of the Act, which include:-
– The benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents.
– The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm, abuse, neglect or family violence.
– Any views expressed by the child (subject to the child’s maturity and level of understanding).
– The child’s relationship with both parents and other important persons in their lives.
– The willingness and ability of each child’s parent to facilitate and encourage a close relationship between the child and the other parent.
– The likely affect of the child’s change in circumstances.
– The practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent.
– The ability of the parent to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs.
– The maturity, sex, lifestyle and background of the child.
The intention of the Act is that both parents should have substantial involvement in their child’s life. In the event that the court finds that parent should share parental responsibility, then the court must consider whether the child should spend equal time with both parents or significant and substantial time or meaningful time with one parent, at all times taking into consideration the best interests of the child.
Whilst the common term is ‘child custody’ the correct legal term is ‘lives with’.
If you wish to relocate with your child, and the other parent opposes this relocation, then it is necessary to apply to the court for an Order to relocate. Alternatively, if the other parent wishes to relocate and you oppose this relocation, you can make an application to the court to restrain the other parent from relocating. When considering issues of relocation, the court will consider the factors raised in the case of MRR v GR  HCA 4 (Rosa’s case), being the facilities available in the current area for the child, the availability of accommodation in the current area, the opportunities for employment in the current area and other factors specific to each case. In the event that the other parent relocates without your consent, you may be able to make a Recovery Order Application to the court for the child to be returned.
Making smart decisions in relation to family law matters generally, relies on both having an understanding of where your circumstance fits in the family law process and acting quickly in seeking specialist legal advice. To assist you better understanding family law, we recommend that you download our Family Law Checklist.