When you’re separating or getting a divorce and have children, it is important that the issues of custody are taken care of as amicably as possible. However, that often isn’t the case and custody issues can be contentious, especially in bitter divorce cases. If necessary, a family court may end deciding which parent gets custody and the visitation arrangements if an agreement between the parents cannot be reached.
Issues to Be Decided
The government always wants to do what is in the best interest of the child or children when it comes to custody arrangements. This is to help prevent physical and/or emotional harm to the child or children and to help both parents remain involved in their life. The main issues that need to be determined for children include where they will live, who they have contact and communicate with and decisions about who gets a say in their care, including medical treatments.
Amicable Custody Arrangements
If you and your former spouse agree on custody terms for your children, you may be able to stay out of court. There are two ways you can try to avoid court if an agreement is reached on custody and visitation arrangements. The first way is through filing an application of consent orders with the family court. This is a legally binding agreement that has the same effect as a court order determined by a judge.
The second way to take care of an amicable custody agreement is to have a parenting plan. The main benefit of a parenting plan is that you do not have to go to court to formalise the agreement. All you need to do is to put the agreed upon terms in writing and each parent’s signature needs to be on the plan. The main disadvantage to using a parenting plan is that it is not a legally binding agreement, so if one parent were to change their minds about an issue, the other parent has no legal recourse.
Child Custody Disputes
Unfortunately, not all custody disputes are amicable, but it is important that you seek the advice of family lawyers in Adelaide before you go to court to determine the custody of your children. Your attorney can help you file an application for parenting orders from the Family Court of Australia.
Before an application can be filed, you and your former spouse will be required to undergo counselling in hopes that an agreement can be mediated. However, there are situations in which this requirement can be waived and it is important to discuss these situations with your attorney. He or she can tell you if your situation will help grant you the waiver.
If you or your spouse breaches the order from the court regarding the custody arrangements, you will either be ordered to attend a parenting program or you could face fines and other penalties. You could face a fine of up to $6,600, a year in jail or have to do community work for breaching an order from the court.