After a divorce or separation, it is important to get legal advice as early as possible to discuss and set your children’s living and support arrangements. Child custody agreements can be made any time after you separate from your partner.

Often, parents will reach an agreement between themselves about their kids and even if this is the case, it is still important to formalise the arrangements through the family courts. This is typically in the form of a ‘parenting order’, which specifically outlines who the child will live with, the time they will spend with each parent and the allocation of parental responsibility. Unlike parenting plans, parenting orders are legally binding and enforceable in Court.

How to apply for parenting orders

When both parents agree on the terms of the parenting orders, the following documents will need to be signed and submitted to the Family Court of Australia:

  • Application for Consent Orders
  • Minutes of the Consent Order that sets out the terms of the agreement
  • Annexure to Proposed Consent Parenting Orders
  • The filing fee for the court

If parents cannot reach an agreement, whether it be where the children live, how much time they spend with each parent or other issues relating to education, religious activities or medical treatments, then there are alternative options.

If an agreement is not able to be reached with the other parent and you want to start legal proceedings, we recommend you get in touch with a family lawyer. Take advantage of our obligation-free consultation to explore your options.

We understand that each family’s situation is different and that some child custody issues are more complex than others. We also know the importance of having an experienced family lawyer who can help guide you through the courts, dispute resolution, or in more amicable separations, documenting parental orders to protect the interests of the child.

Our family lawyers in Cairns will guide you through your options for child support and custody, and help you reach a positive outcome for you and your children.

Results for our clients

  • A successful international child relocation matter where the Family Court sanctioned the child to live with our client outside of Australia.
  • Resolving the majority of our clients’ property and parenting matters by negotiation without resorting to Court proceedings.
  • Assisted indigenous foster parents in the Children’s Court with proceedings dealing with their foster child.
  • A child custody matter, where we acted for the grandparents to remove the children from parents who both had drug and mental health issues which compromised their safety.

Child Support Matters

Most Children are covered by the Australian Child Support Scheme, with child support arrangements assessed and monitored by the Child Support Agency rather than the courts. However, sometimes parents feel that the assessment issued by the agency does not produce a fair outcome, or that there may be child support issues. Unfortunately, this can happen and in cases where it is felt that a different decision would produce a more favourable result for the children, we can help guide you through the dispute process.

Changing child support arrangements is complicated in nature and if not managed by an expert lawyer, can result in an escalation of resentment between the parents as well as a long, drawn out, stressful situation that could have otherwise been resolved. Our family lawyers are highly experienced and able to support parents through this process, providing expert guidance and advice based on decades of experience.

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