PARENTING ARRANGEMENTS are delicate and emotionally charged.

FAMILY LAW is the main legal framework relating to divorce, separation, children, parenting arrangements, property, and financial matters.  But most would agree, there are few matters as delicate and emotionally charged as determining parenting arrangements.

When a relationship dissolves, whether through divorce, separation, or other circumstances, decisions about child custody and visitation rights become the most important.  As lawyers specialising in family law, Phoenix Law approaches your issue with sensitivity, diligence, and a thorough understanding of the legal intricacies involved. Let’s look at some key considerations when determining parenting arrangements.

The Best Interests of the Child

The best interest of the child is a child rights principle, which derives from Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is a fundamental principle in Australian family law. When a parent or the Court makes any decision relating to a child, the child’s best interests are always taken into account. But what exactly constitutes the “best interests” in Australia?

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child looks at evaluating and balancing “all the elements necessary to decide in a specific situation for a specific individual child or group of children”. With a multiplicity of factors to consider, usually, more than one profession or institution is involved in the assessment process, bringing together areas of expertise from the country-of-origin perspective and, the perspective of the child.

The following aspects are relevant

The child’s views and aspirations.

The identity of the child, including age and gender, personal history and background;

The care, protection and safety of the child;

The child’s well-being.

The family environment, family relations and contact;

Social contacts of the child with peers and adults;

Situations of vulnerability, i.e. the risks that the child is facing and the sources of protection, resiliency and empowerment;

The child’s skills and evolving capacities;

The rights and needs with regard to health and education;

The development of the child and her or his gradual transition into adulthood and an independent life;

Any other specific needs of the child.

What Does The Law Say?

Under Section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975, the Court determines the best interests of the child based on two primary considerations – “the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.”

Prioritising the best interests of the child may seem like a straightforward concept, but the application can vary significantly depending on the circumstances of each case. As your Family Lawyers, our role is to advocate for arrangements that promote the physical, emotional, and developmental well-being of the child above all else. At Phoenix Law, we have a range of multilingual lawyers, who understand your language and also your customs.

Types of Custody

Understanding the different types of custody is key to creating suitable parenting arrangements. Physical custody refers to where the child resides, while legal custody pertains to decision-making authority regarding the child’s upbringing, including matters related to education, healthcare, and religion. Custody arrangements can be sole (where one parent has primary custody) or joint (where both parents share custody responsibilities).

Parenting Plans

Developing a comprehensive parenting plan is the foundation of effective parenting arrangements, and outlines the specifics of custody and visitation schedules, communication protocols between parents, methods for resolving disputes, and any special considerations regarding the child’s needs. Crafting a well-thought-out parenting plan requires meticulous attention to detail and a thorough understanding of state laws and regulations.

Factors Considered by the Court

In cases where parents cannot reach a mutually agreeable arrangement, the court may intervene to determine custody and visitation rights. When making these decisions, courts consider a myriad of factors, including each parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment, the child’s relationship with each parent, any history of abuse or neglect, the child’s preferences (depending on their age and maturity), and each parent’s willingness to facilitate a positive relationship between the child and the other parent.

Exploring Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Given the emotional toll and financial burden of prolonged litigation, many courts encourage parents to explore alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative law. These approaches aim to facilitate constructive dialogue between parents, empower them to reach mutually acceptable agreements and minimise the adversarial nature of traditional courtroom proceedings. As attorneys, Phoenix Law & Associates play a crucial role in guiding our clients through these processes and advocating for your interests, whilst prioritising the well-being of the child.

Modifications and Enforcement

Parenting arrangements aren’t static; they may need to be modified over time to accommodate changing circumstances such as parental relocations, remarriage, or shifts in the child’s needs. When seeking modifications, parents must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances warranting the adjustment. Additionally, ensuring compliance with existing arrangements may require legal intervention if one parent fails to adhere to the agreed-upon terms.

In Summary..

Whilst piloting parenting arrangements, we must approach each case with empathy, professionalism, and a commitment to achieving outcomes that serve the best interests of the child. By understanding the legal principles, advocating effectively for our clients, and fostering cooperation whenever possible, we can help families navigate the complexities of custody and visitation with compassion and integrity.

Phoenix Law has skilled lawyers who speak your language and understand your culture – Urdu, Hindi, Pashtu, Farsi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese – English, Portuguese, and Romanian – to help you with Family Law. CALL 1800GETHELP | Level 16, 300 Adelaide St, Brisbane City| #BrisbaneLawyers #Urdu #Hindi #Pashtu #Mandarin #Cantonese #Korean #Japanese #Portuguese #Romanian #FamilyLaw #Wills #Estates #Migration #Accident #InjuryLaw #BusinessLaw