Parents are encouraged to reach an agreement
about arrangements for their children.
When a relationship breakdown involves children, you need a lawyer that
is experienced in parenting matters and understands the impact that
separation can have on children. Our lawyers handle parenting
matters with sensitivity and compassion.
How are parenting arrangements made?
Parents are encouraged to reach an agreement about arrangements for their children. Where parents have difficulty coming to an agreement, the first step is usually to attend mediation with a family dispute resolution practitioner.
We recommend obtaining legal advice prior to attending mediation. We can provide you with a list of family dispute practitioners in your area. Agreements about parenting arrangements can be documented in a parenting plan or a consent order. However, only the latter is legally enforceable and binding.
Either party can apply to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court for parenting orders, however, it is usually a prerequisite to have attended mediation first. There are exceptions to this requirement, such as cases of urgency or family violence.
In determining parenting arrangements the Court treats the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.
Our experienced family lawyers can assist you in negotiating parenting arrangements and, where necessary, in applying to the Court for parenting orders. We can advise you as to the most appropriate steps to take in resolving your particular case.
What if my situation is urgent?
In some situations, it is necessary for urgent applications to be made and listed for hearing very quickly.
For example, where the safety of a child is at risk. We can advise you about such applications if you have urgent concerns about the wellbeing of your child.
What rights do grandparents have?
Pursuant to the Family Law Act not only parents can seek parenting orders. Children have the right to spend time with other people, such as grandparents, who are important to their care, welfare and development.
We have extensive experience representing grandparents in ensuring that they maintain contact with their grandchildren following a relationship breakdown between the parents.
Can I relocate interstate or overseas with my children?
If the other parent objects to you moving an application to relocate must be made to the Court.
The Court takes into account many factors in determining the matter, with the best interests of the children being paramount.
Our family lawyers have vast experience representing parents seeking to move, as well as parents objecting to proposed relocations.
I am worried about my children being taken out of Australia without my consent
We can advise and assist in obtaining a Court order that places the children on the Airport Watch List and, where appropriate, requires the children's passports to be held by the Court.
We can also assist you in making a Child Alert Request with the Australian Passport Office so that you are contacted in the event that a passport application for a child is lodged without your knowledge.
Speak to a lawyer.
An Accredited Specialist legal advisor can help advise you on moving forward, with your children's best interests at the forefront.
You may also need to consider:
Child support and options
In any relationship breakdown that involves children, there is likely to be an on-going child support payments.
Trying our online tool to get started
Our online assessment tool can help our lawyers provide proactive advice to you about your specific situation. It's completely free and confidential.
Learn more about watchlists
There is information available online about adding children to the Australian Federal Police’s Family Law Watchlist.
Resources & FAQs
Answers to common questions in
relation to the expertise.
It is rare that a court will order no contact between a parent and child, however greater weight will be placed on the need to protect a child from physical or psychological harm, over having a meaningful relationship with both parents.
Commencing today (29 April 2020) the Australian Family Courts have established a court list dedicated to deal exclusively with urgent parenting-related disputes that have arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The High Court’s decision in Masson v. Parsons & Ors  HCA 2, makes it clear that there are circumstances in which a sperm donor can be recognised under the law as a “parent”.