what happens to parenting orders when there is family violence?
Courts will act immediately whenever there is risk of family violence or child abuse. The court can issue orders for supervised time with the child or prevent the parent from seeing the child.
Parenting orders are vital to the child’s welfare with parents already separated or divorced. Divorce or separation sometimes causes discord in the family and children unwittingly become the victims. Parents who cannot agree on the arrangements for their child have to go to court for parenting orders.
These are orders from the court that provide for the parents’ responsibilities and the arrangements for their child. The orders will specify where the child will live, who the child will spend time and communicate with, child maintenance if the child is not covered under the Child Support Assessment Act, how decisions affecting the child will be made and other matters that are pertinent to the care, development and welfare of the child.
Parenting orders are necessary when the parents cannot reach an agreement on how to care for their child.
What if there is a risk of family violence?
The responsibility of reporting family violence or child abuse does not depend only on the victim and the police. The rest of the society has a duty to report family violence when it is being inflicted. A report should be made to the court immediately if a person believes that a child is at risk of family violence or abuse.
It is very important that family violence or abuse will be immediately reported to the court because this will affect the proceedings. In fact, the proceedings might even be halted to investigate the allegations of violence or abuse. Whenever there are conflicting versions given by the parties, the court may appoint experts or family law consultants to investigate the charge and give a report to the court. The court may also appoint an independent children’s lawyer who will be tasked to ascertain the best interests of the child and make recommendations to the court.
The court must also be informed if a child or a member of the child’s family is under the care of, or being investigated by a state or territory welfare authority for matters connected with family violence or child abuse. The court may require these concerned government agencies to make a report on the history and status of the case.
Instead of making parenting orders the court may issue interim orders for the protection of the child or the victim. The court will make the child’s safety a priority and may even order supervised time spent by the child with the parent who is allegedly committing violence or abuse. This can be done even if there has been no formal charge of violence against the party or even a report on the allegations of violence has not yet been submitted to the court. The court can even issue an order preventing a parent from seeing the child if the court believes that the parent is harmful.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.