Author

Alan Weiss

19th March, 2020

Alan Weiss developed aussiedivorce.com.au after he experienced himself how devastating divorce proceedings can be. I witnessed firsthand my own future security, and that of my familys, being destroyed by acrimonious and costly divorce litigation. I created aussiedivorce.com.au to help people avoid an experience like this and lose thousands of dollars. Instead the aussiedivorce.com.au system will assist them in getting on with their lives.

Courts will immediately act if there are allegations of family violence or abuse

Allegations of family violence or abuse change the playing field for the parents in a parenting dispute. A parenting dispute involve issues like with whom the child will primarily live with, with whom the child will spend time with and how much time will be spent with that person. Courts are required by the law to immediately act in cases where there is a presence of family violence or abuse and even just the risk of it.

What is family violence and abuse?

Family violence under the Family Law Act means violent or threatening behaviour of a person or such behaviour that coerces or controls a member of that person’s family or causes the family member to feel fear. Even a child’s exposure to violence is one of the considerations which the court will take into account in deciding a parenting dispute. A child is considered exposed to family violence if he sees or hears family violence or experiences the effects of it.

Abuse is defined under the Family Law Act by an enumeration of certain acts that constitute abuse in relation to a child. These acts are assault or sexual assault to a child, involving the child in sexual activity, causing psychological harm to the child including exposure to family violence and serious neglect of the child.  

What can you do?

A Form 4 can be filed with the court which is a “Notice of Child Abuse or Family Violence”. The Form 4 will be served on the alleged perpetrator. The law mandates that courts must act immediately upon receipt of a Form 4. The court may even halt family law proceedings to appoint an Independent Children’s Lawyer or appoint an expert witness to investigate the allegations.  

What are the orders that the court will issue?

In a parenting dispute the most important consideration is the best interest of a child and all the more if there are allegations of family violence or abuse. The arrangements which the court will set out in its orders will be aimed at the protection of the child and what it is in his best interest.

The Family Law Act has created a presumption that shared and joint custody of a child is in the latter’s best interest. However, there is an exception and this is if there are allegations of family violence or abuse. Parties to a parenting dispute can expect the following scenarios which the court can order:

  • The violent parent, spouse or partner is not allowed to spend time with the child;
  • The child and the violent parent are allowed to have contact but with supervision;
  • The child is allowed to spend limited time with the violent parent or is restricted to spend time only in specified places;

The violent parent is required to undergo counseling.

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