When children under 18 years of age are involved, the Court must be satisfied that proper arrangements are made. The primary goal of the Court is to ensure the child receives the best possible outcome. To do this the Court may assess whether psychological or physical harm could come to the child, whether the child will benefit from a meaningful relationship with both parents and many other considerations. If equal custody is granted by the Court, the parents must agree to an arrangement of shared time. In the event of a disagreement between parents, dispute resolution processes will occur and if this fails, a certificate to commence court proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court must be issued by the dispute resolution practitioner.
If contact cannot be agreed between the parents we advise the following:
If an independent lawyer or mediation does not work then usually the only option is commence proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court. This is an expensive option however and should be avoided if possible.
A parenting plan is an agreement between parties as to contact. Parenting plans are not binding and should only be used if the parties are able to generally agree but just want to document the agreement between them.
Consent orders are similar to a parenting plan but are filed and stamped by the court. They are binding on the parties and are not changed by the courts unless there are reasonable circumstances that require modification.
Mediation is where both parties meet with an independent person (the mediator) to discuss the issues and attempt to reach a compromise. It can be done via phone or in person and the parties can be in separate rooms or all in the one room if agreed.