Custody rights Australia prioritises children above all. Splitting parental time and responsibility for them is one of the most difficult processes during separation. There are a lot of eligible people who can gain custody rights in Australia. However, this boils down to whether they are capable of supporting the child.
Both spouses can agree on deciding separation terms by applying for consent orders or court orders. Consent orders involve coming to an agreement as a couple and submitting this to court. A solicitor can help with enabling these orders. The following can receive child custody:
- Step-parents and;
Custody Rights Australia: The Child’s Best Interests
Divorce cases are notoriously difficult and complex in Australia. Moreover, there are several misunderstandings on who is more likely to acquire custody of the children after divorce or separation. You might have heard that custody rights in Australia mostly favour mothers.
While this was true in the old days, custody rights in Australia are based on the child’s best interests today. Parents, step-parents, and grandparents don’t simply win custody rights in Australia. In support of this, the court determines the child’s best interests. The following determine the child’s best interest:
Love and affection
Parents need to address their children’s emotional needs. Does the child willingly want to be with their parents? Who does the child look to for love and affection?
This factor asks the question of what the parties can give in terms of guidance, religion, and cultural values. Does the child go to church? The court will also look if parents have made efforts in educating the child.
Ability to provide
Parents must be able to provide basic household needs like food and clothing. Is the parent financially capable to house a child properly? Providing clothing and medical needs is also a must
The child’s environment
The court will look into the safety of the child in his/her house. A crime-free environment is suitable for a child’s upbringing.
The parent’s moral fitness
Custody rights in Australia are awarded to parents who are morally fit to care for their children. Any sign of alcohol and drug abuse is not a good sign for a child’s upbringing.
Has the child experienced abuse? Are the parents physically, emotionally, or mentally abusive to the child? Following the parent’s moral fitness, domestic violence is a significant factor in losing child custody.
Parenting Orders and Adoption
Parenting orders are made for people wanting to get child custody. This gives people the authority and responsibilities of a biological parent. Here are some perks that parenting orders can give:
- Access to school notices, reports, and any other information that goes to parents
- Allow you to attend school events
- The right to have access to the child’s education and health
- The right to pick up a child on behalf of the biological parent
- Allow you to spend quality time with a child
On the other hand, adoptions are another way for gaining child custody in Australia. Only the court can grant adoption to a person. This is only done if parenting orders aren’t enough for the child’s protection. For example, adoption can be done if the biological parents have died or aren’t actively involved in their child’s life.
Custody Rights For Step-parents
Step-parents don’t usually have an automatic right to gain child custody in Australia. However, this can be done by adoption or acquiring a parenting order. The custody rights of a stepchild will depend on the child’s best interests. The Family Law Act 1975 defines a step-parent if they:
- Are not a biological parent of the child;
- Were or are married to a de-facto partner of one of the child’s biological parents; or
- Treat the child as a member of the family formed by the step-parent with the biological parent
However, there is an exception for medical emergencies where the stepparent’s consent is needed. If a stepparent’s partner passes away, parental responsibility is granted to the surviving biological parent. Just like grandparents, stepparents can also apply for a parenting order or adoption for child custody purposes.
Grandparents’ Custody Rights In Australia
Grandparents care deeply for their grandchildren. Most grandparents would love to spend more time and even care for their grandchildren. In most cases, parents can easily decide who will care for their children. A couple’s divorce can lead to grandparents not being able to care or meet their grandchildren.
If grandparents think that their grandchildren are not receiving proper parenting, they may apply for custody in court. A solicitor can be of great assistance in these circumstances. Grandparents who want to gain peaceful custody can opt for mediation.
Mediation is where a solicitor can accompany parties into reaching an amicable agreement without going to court. If the dispute resolution fails, grandparents can contact the Family Court of Australia for a court order. Click here to read more about grandparents’ rights in child custody.
What If A Parent Withholds A Child From The Other Parent?
Parenting can pose a lot of problems, especially with spending time with a child. A parent can apply for a contravention order if the other parent is withholding a child from them. The Court may impose a fine or compensation for lost time to the withholding parent.
There are instances where withholding a child is acceptable from the other parent. Withholding a child is acceptable if the other parent is violent and abusive towards the child. While all of this is a lot to take in, it’s important to seek legal consultation for such complex and serious cases.
Importance Of Seeking Legal Advice
Gaining custody rights of your children should be approached with caution. The path to gaining child custody will be gruelling and JB Solicitors can assist you with the necessary procedures. While we can represent you in court, we believe that there are other cost-effective ways in gaming child custody.
Our mediation services can help family members come to a peaceful agreement. This way, the right people can receive child custody properly. In addition, our family solicitors can provide market-leading legal advice for people seeking child custody.
Contact JB Solicitors today for your child custody needs.