the breakdown of marriage will be faced on average by one in three couples in australia.
With such a breakdown comes the task of not only dividing the material possessions the parties have acquired during their marriage but also working out what happens with the children. Where will they live?
If they are not living with me, when will I see them? Will I be involved in decisions about where they live, what school they go to and other important aspects of their lives? Do I have to go to Court to work this out?
The law surrounding parenting matters is contained in the Family Law Act (“the Act”). Changes to the law regarding children in 2006, means terms such as custody, residence, access and contact no longer apply. The focus of the court now is to determine whether the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility applies, where the child(ren) will live and what time will the child(ren) spend with their parents. These issues regarding children will always be determined with the best interests of the child(ren) as the paramount consideration.
By definition parental responsibility means all duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law parents have in relation to their children. For couples who separate, this parental responsibility does not (in a majority of cases) change. Meaning that one parent does not then have overriding or greater control over the issue of parental responsibility following a separation. In all instances, except where there is family violence or it is determined not to be the child(ren)’s best interest parental responsibility will vest equally between the parents. This means that all long – terms decisions regarding, health, education, living arrangements, name changes etc will need to be made by the parents following consultation with one another.
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.