The Basics: Care of children

When parents live apart it is usually best for children to continue their relationship with both their parents.

Issues that typically need to be resolved revolve around their day to day care, arrangements over the time they are going to spend in each parent’s care, their schooling and all the other aspects of parenting.

What is best for a particular child is always the determining factor in deciding what should happen.

Parents can agree on what is best for their children’s care arrangements. If there are problems, or agreement is not possible, the Family Court Judge will decide.

Unless in an emergency, there are matters that need to be attended to before being able to apply to the Family Court to ask a Judge to make a decision. It is necessary to attend the Parenting Through Separation course, and there needs to be an attempt to resolve matters at mediation by attending the Family Court’s Family Disputes Resolution process.

Your lawyer is not automatically allowed to represent you in Care of Children Act cases but can in some situations. If there are serious issues about your children’s welfare, the Judge will appoint a lawyer for the child, and in some difficult cases the Judge will appoint an expert such as a child psychologist. Parents can be required to contribute to the costs of these Court appointed persons.

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