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Children’s Matters and Child Arrangements

When there is a family breakdown, there can sometimes be dispute about who children live with, where, and how will they maintain a meaningful relationship with their parents.

Decisions will also need to be made about other aspects of the children's future, such as where they go to school or what religion they follow.

Any arrangements for the care of a child need to be made in the child’s best interests and with a focus on preserving relationships with their parents.

It is important to get legal advice and come to a resolution early to prevent uncertainty and anxiety for the children.

While parenting matters may be agreed to or negotiated by parents informally through a parenting plans or mediation, these agreements are not binding and enforceable. We can help you and your former partner negotiate Court Orders setting out a parenting arrangement without you having to step foot in a Courtroom. At other times, legal intervention and support may be required when parents come to a stalemate.

Will my children have to appear in court in a family law dispute?

A question we are often asked in separation proceedings is whether children will be required to attend Court in order to give evidence in a family law matter.

Complex Children’s Matters

There are instances where children may be at risk of abuse, neglect or exposed to family violence. You may be dealing with a number of services such as psychologists, child protection officers or the police and feel completely overwhelmed.

We are committed to resolving matters holistically and in a way that preserves relationships and puts the best interests of the child first. We take care of the legal side of things but refer you to the non-legal services you need. Our lawyers are trauma-informed to provide sound, sensitive and practical legal advice to help you move forward.

Relocation and recovery of children

Some parents may be concerned that the other parent will remove children from their current home or school or move interstate or overseas.

After separation, some parents wish to relocate with their child/children. If relocation if going to limit the amount or frequency of time spent with a parent, consent will need to be granted by the other parent prior to that relocation.

If an agreement cannot be reached about relocation, an application can be made to the Court for an Order to allow for the relocation to occur. An application can also be made to prevent relocation from occurring.

The Court will consider the impact the relocation will have on the child/children and on their ongoing relationship with both parents and make an order based on what is in the child’s best interests.

A child must have the opportunity to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. A Court may not give permission for a relocation to occur if the relocation is not considered to be in the best interest of the child/children. If relocation has occurred without the consent of both parties, the Court may order the child/children to be returned.

If a parent relocates with a child/children of the relationship without the consent of the other parent, an application may be made to the Court for child/children to be returned.

Overseas child abduction, Hague Convention Applications and Airport Watchlist Applications

If your child has been taken overseas without your consent, you will need urgent legal advice about recovering the child.

If the country your child has been taken to is a signatory to an international agreement called the Hague Convention, then we can help you make an application to have your child returned to Australia.

If your child has not been abducted overseas but you have a genuine fear that they may be, an application may be made to the Court for the child/children to be placed on the Australian Federal Police’s Airport Watchlist, which will stop the child being taken out of the country.

It is important that you act urgently if you are concerned that your child may be taken overseas without your consent. It is usually far easier to prevent a child from leaving Australia than to bring them back, particularly if the destination country is not a signatory to the Hague Convention

Our lawyers can help you submit an Airport Watchlist Application to prevent the risk of child abduction occurring.

Call 1300 366 441 or find us at an office near you to arrange a free and confidential appointment with one of our Family Law solicitors.

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