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Organising your Children after Separation

It is also not unusual for these issues to become a problem because the parties cannot agree. This is where a Family lawyer can step in and help you to negotiate and resolve the impasse.

Some of theses issues may be:

  • Where a child will live and if a parent can move;
  • Who has parental responsibility for the child;
  • What school the child will attend and who will make that decision; and
  • Whether the child can travel overseas or move away.

Our Perth family lawyers will provide you with the guidance you require to navigate your way through this difficult time and to sort out your arrangements into a parenting order.​

How do I get parenting orders?

There are two ways to obtain parenting orders:

  • Consent orders -These are obtained by consent where both parties come to an agreement  and they jointly ask the Court to make the orders.
  • Where you or the other parent cannot agree on the arrangements and you need to apply to the Court for assistance to make arrangements for the children. This is commonly called  “litigation” where the Court will make orders on the best interests of your children.
  • These orders may be on an interim basis or if it goes to trial on a final basis.
  • If you need to apply to the Family Court for Parenting orders because you can not come to an agreement with your ex partner you must attend Family Dispute Resolution.

Alternatively, you could include the agreement in a parenting plan. Our Lawyers in Perth are able to assist you in making and implementing parenting orders.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a written agreement between you and your ex-partner regarding the future arrangements for your child.

A parenting plan may include:

  • Who has parental responsibility for the children;
  • Where and who the child will live with;
  • How and when the child will spend time and communicate with each parent and other important people such as grandparents;
  • Details such as sporting commitments and extra-curricular activities, education, religion or medical treatment, what school the children will attend and who will pay school fees; and, how you might resolve differences between you and your ex-partner in relation to your children in the future.

What is Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution?

Mediation or Family dispute resolution (FDR) is a process where you and your ex partner meet with a family dispute resolution practitioner (FDRP) to try to sort out your family law issues. These issues might include who your children will live with, who they will spend time with and other matters such as what school the children will attend.

What are the exceptions to having to attend FDR?

If you intend to make an application to the Family Court for parenting orders (including to change existing parenting orders) you must attend FDR and obtain an FDR Certificate before you can make an application to the court.

  • There are the following exceptions;
  • There has been or is risk of child abuse;
  • There has been or is risk of child abuse to the child;
  • You live in a remote area and you cannot attend FDR, although often parties can attend by telephone link up.

We can assist you to negotiate with your ex partner to obtain parenting orders about a few or a wide range of issues. As the parenting orders will be enforceable by the Court, you need to be quite specific to ensure the orders are written so the Court can understand them and they are therefore enforceable.

We at West Coast Legal therefore recommend you obtain legal advice on the drafting of the orders so that they will be enforceable by the Court. Our lawyers are able to provide you with advice on any child proceedings.

Where can you go for Family Dispute Resolution?

Below are  links to Family Relationship Centres that offer FDR in both Perth and country areas.
Relationships Australia  (http://www.relationshipswa.org.au/locations.aspx)
Citizens Advice Bureau  (http://www.cabwa.com.au/about-us/branches)
Gosnells Community Legal Centre  (http://gosclc.com.au/mediation/)
Centrecare  (http://www.centrecare.com.au/services/rural-services/family-dispute-rural)

Get initial free advice

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Tannis and Theresa
Tannis and Theresa