Child Custody and Parenting Arrangements

August 12, 2014 – at 3:40 am – by Bodekers Family Lawyers
Child Custody

Child Custody Perth

At separation couples need to think about the care and custody of children. It is possible to reach an agreement without the need for lawyers. However, negotiations with former partners can be tough. Ensuring the best results is key in these tough times.

Custody is a complex area of family law. It is important that you seek professional legal advice. You should ensure the advice comes from someone with a lot of experience.

Child Custody Perth – Australian Family Law

The term “custody” is often used when considering parenting arrangements. However, the term “custody” is not used in Australian family law. Instead, the law focuses on the “best interests of the child“.

Parents should understand that the child’s “best interests” have meaning in family law. They are a crucial factor when thinking about parenting arrangements.

The basic principles set out in the Family Law Act state that:

– children have the right to be properly cared for and protected from harm, and

– parents have the responsibility to care for their children.

More specifically, the best interests of the child are met when the child has:

  1. Protection from physical violence, harm, abuse, neglect or violence;
  2. The benefit of having a meaningful relationship with both parents;
  3. Adequate and proper parenting;
  4. Parents that fulfil their duties and meet their parental responsibilities.

Grandparents can also apply for child custody.

Child Custody Perth – Parenting Orders

The Family Court of Western Australia addresses parental responsibilities through Parenting Orders.

Parenting orders consider a range of factors about a child’s life. They are designed to act in the child’s best interest.

The Family Court presumes that it is in the child’s best interest for their parents to have shared responsibility. This is unless there are reasonable grounds to say otherwise. The Court must consider risk factors when making Parenting orders. Risk factors may be evidence of violence or abuse. This extends to other children who are members of a parent’s family.

Parenting orders usually include:

  1. Parental responsibility;
  2. Living arrangements;
  3. Time spent and communication between a child and any other aspect of the care;
  4. Welfare or development of a child, such as religion, education, medical, travel and;
  5. Any other relevant issues.

Child Custody Perth – Children’s wishes

Each child is an individual. As they grow older the court will pay more attention to where the child wants to live. For example, a court is more likely to consider the opinion of a child in their late teens.

Types of Child custody

When determining living arrangements there are different types of time a parent may spend with their child.

  1. Live-with. This is an order requiring the child to live with one parent permanently. This parent may be the primary caregiver. This is the person whom the court decides it is in the child’s best interests to spend most of their time with.
  2. Equal time. This may operate on a “week about” basis. This means the child spends X amount of time with Parent A, who then hands custody over to Parent B. The child then spends equal X amount of time with Parent B.
  3. Substantial time. This is not quite equal time. One enjoys a substantial amount of time with the child. Both parents are still involved in their day-to-day routine and significant activities.

This is not legal advice. For the best results, you need to seek proper legal counsel.

Child Custody Perth – Bodekers Family Lawyers

At Bodekers Family Lawyers & Mediators we pride ourselves on providing quality legal advice. We can help to ensure parenting arrangements are in your child’s best interests.

We understand what it is like to raise children and the challenges surrounding post-separation parenting.

When to contact us

If you are facing issues concerning the care of your child or children following a separation or divorce, you should seek legal advice.

Children’s matters can be very complex. It may be difficult to tell how much time a court might award a parent with their child. We recommend you seek legal advice from our Legal Practitioner Director Ms. Shannon Bodeker. Ms. Bodeker has worked in family law in Perth for over 18 years.

Contact Bodekers by phone (08) 9323 7711) or email shannon@bodekers.com.au for your free pre-read and first appointment at a reduced flat rate.

Prior to your first appointment, you may send us an email, fax or similar, outlining your situation. You may include as much detail as you like. We read this information on a complimentary basis prior to your first family law appointment. We get to know you and your family law matter before we meet.