Child custody is a primary concern when a marriage or even a de facto relationship breaks. Issues related to this aspect of a divorce or separation are generally dealt with through local, family, or federal circuit courts. The law supports the development of parenting arrangements through verbal or written agreements; these are not legally enforceable. You can also obtain a consent order which is a written legal agreement that has been witnessed, signed and filed in court.
When an agreement cannot be reached, you will need to apply for a parenting order from the aforementioned courts. These are legally binding agreements issued to a pursuant according to the Family Law Act 1975 (Commonwealth) Section 65. It will outline your duties and that of other carers, including your ex-partner. It will also cover details such as your child's living arrangements, potential travel details, maintenance and regulations on the people who the minor may spend time with.
Applying for an Order
According to the Family Law Act 1975 Section 65C, you may apply for a parenting order as the child's parent or grandparent. Other persons concerned with the child's welfare including relatives and carers may also file the request. It is advisable to seek legal counsel prior to application especially when disputes are likely to arise. It is also important to note that partners in de facto relationships where the child was conceived through artificial insemination can also file parenting orders.
This provision in Section 60H of the Family Law Act allows parents including same sex couples to exercise parental rights. The court will make a decision on the parenting order through a trial or hearing if your ex-partner or other involved parties are against your request.
Child's Best Interest
The court considers the child's best interest when evaluating parenting orders therefore you should understand the ideal environment for healthy development. The minor should receive protection against physical and psychological harm. There should be a relationship between the child and both parents unless there are unfavourable factors such as abuse and family violence. Moreover, there should be equal parental responsibility in terms of child support and the time spent with the child.
The breach of parental orders especially when there is no reasonable excuse is a serious legal offence. The existing order may be revoked and you can be ordered by the court to take part in a parenting program supervised by a counselling service. There are also potential legal penalties including substantial fines, jail time and community work.
Consult with resources like Marino Law to better navigate the legal system.