The welfare of children is a primary concern when parents separate or divorce. In Australia, the family law system prioritises the best interests of the child and ensures that children have the right to a meaningful relationship with both parents, as long as it is safe and in the child's best interests.
When parents separate, they need to make arrangements for the care of their children. These arrangements should consider the child's age, relationship with each parent, and any other relevant factors. The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) provides that the best interests of the child must be the paramount consideration when making parenting orders.
Parents are encouraged to come to an agreement about the parenting arrangements for their children. They can do this informally, through a parenting plan, or through a consent order. A parenting plan is a written agreement between the parents that sets out the parenting arrangements for the children. It is not legally enforceable but can be used as evidence in court if there is a dispute later on. A consent order, on the other hand, is a legally enforceable agreement that is approved by the court.
Child support is the financial support provided by the non-residential parent to the residential parent to contribute to the costs of raising the children. The Child Support Agency (CSA) administers the child support scheme in Australia and is responsible for assessing, collecting, and transferring child support payments between parents.
The amount of child support that a parent is required to pay is calculated based on a formula that takes into account the income of both parents, the number of children, the age of the children, and the level of care provided by each parent. Parents can also make a private child support agreement if they prefer, but it must be registered with the CSA to be enforceable.
Family dispute resolution (FDR) is a type of mediation that helps separated parents to resolve conflicts and make decisions about the care of their children. FDR is a mandatory step before applying to the court for parenting orders, except in cases of urgency or family violence.
FDR services are provided by accredited family dispute resolution practitioners who are trained in mediation and conflict resolution. The aim of FDR is to help parents to communicate effectively, make decisions that are in the best interests of the children, and develop a cooperative parenting relationship.
The welfare of children is of utmost importance when parents separate or divorce in Australia. The family law system provides a framework for making parenting arrangements, assessing and collecting child support, and resolving disputes through family dispute resolution services. It is essential for separated parents to be aware of their rights and responsibilities and to seek appropriate legal and professional support to ensure the best possible outcomes for their children.