Relationships and marriages may turn sour when things don’t go as planned for a couple. Child access rights may also be a factor to consider when starting out in a divorce.
Under the Family Law Act (1975), it is stated that the father and mother shall jointly exercise parental responsibility on their children. When a relationship ends, the responsibilities of the parent to their children should be prioritised.
Access is the legal term for the right of the child and their parents to spend time together. As part of child access rights, the parents also have a right to receive information about the child’s status regarding their school progress, health concerns, and well-being.
It is only fair that you have the right to have access to your child. While it may be very stressful thinking about the repercussions of a divorce or separation, this article can help you in understanding various aspects related to your child access rights.
Child Access Rights – Child Custody And Visitations
Custody is best understood as the right to make important decisions concerning your child, and the right to visit your child. In general, the biological or a foster parent can have child access rights. Third parties who have the right to child access include the following:
- Aunt and uncles
- Other relatives and family friends
There are also types of custody and visitations you opt to look into in order to have child access rights. Here are the following:
Under this, both parents continue to be a part of major decisions in the child’s life. Usually, parents split their time and finances to make ends meet for this type of custody to work.
This custody aims to have the child under the care of one parent who makes all necessary decisions in the child’s life. The other parent can usually make arrangements to visit the child – provided there are no family violence or domestic violence charges against them.
What makes this different from joint custody is that the child continues to live with the parents under one roof and time is more efficient for the family (e.g. the child may spend a week with one parent, then a week with the other). This is more achievable when both parents live in the same community.
This occurs when there are two or more children and a certain number of children may live with one parent and the remaining children with the other parent. Both parents are responsible for the children under their care and have access to all of their children.
The best custody plan that parents can get is if both parties have an amicable arrangement in place. Having a peaceful and mediated conversation can be the best result for a child’s growth. However, if parents fail to reach a mutual decision, the only thing left to do is to seek negotiation through lawyers or approach the court.
Parent-child visitations grant parents who do not have physical custody to see them from time to time or on a regular basis. Types of visitations include:
Parents are generally permitted to take their children to their own homes without the supervision of the other parent.
In this case, another adult may be present during the other parent’s visitation. Courts may allow the non-custodial parent to select an individual to serve as the supervisor.
This can be applied with the world having a pandemic and having access to online mediums. This type of visitation usually takes place using video calls.
Child Access Rights – Filing For Custody
A valid petition for the rightful custody of a child under 18 may be filed by any person. The petition for custody shall be filed in a court of the province or where the petitioner resides. A parent can be granted custody if it is deemed to be in the best interests of the child.
Maintaining your involvement in your child’s life can be an advantage if you’re seeking child access rights. This shows your commitment to providing a good life for your child regardless of the divorce.
Working out a parenting plan with your former spouse where possible can also help. It is also essential to limit your child’s involvement if there are conflicts or disputes between you and your former spouse.
On the other hand, behaviours like using your child to relay messages will reflect that you are not truly bothered about your child. Making false claims may also be detrimental for your child access rights.
What If My Child Is Residing Overseas?
Given that your child is residing in another country, you can refer to the Hague Convention. Australia has been a part of this convention since August 9, 1994, and the Convention deals with matters like seeking international child access.
It also details the process of requesting their child to be returned to their home country. This Convention is largely related to child access rights. The convention also states that the retention of a child from its habitual country is lawfully wrong as it breaches the custody rights of a person.
The Child’s Well-Being
Do the factors above sound like a lot? Definitely. An overshadowed effect of child custody is the huge impact it has on the child. Yes, it is clear that the ex-partners would have trouble coping up and adjusting to the new setting.
However, even for a child such instances bring distress to them if they are not handled properly. Upbringing does play a big part in the early stages of a child’s life and sustaining it is another thing to consider.
It is also important to note that a child cannot decide whom they prefer to live with since it is the job of the judge to determine the best interests of the child and who can be granted custody. A child’s wishes can be presented to the judge for their consideration or a child’s representative – in fact a child’s opinions and views are an important secondary consideration under the best interests principle stated in Section 60CC of the Act.
Importance Of Seeking Legal Advice
Matters related to child access rights can be complicated when not handled properly. Conflicts and situations within divorces add to the burden of both parties and affect their mental health, as well as the child’s well-being.
For these reasons seeking legal advice from JB Solicitors and our wide array of compassionate experts can guide you in having clear decisions in these circumstances.
Our family lawyers have a thorough understanding in managing and tackling such cases and we offer fixed-fee pricing for family law services allowing our clients to have a clear sense of legal costs right from the get-go.
Contact us today.