It’s important to understand the Family Law Act 1975 when talking about full custody of child for father. This Act governs child custody situations for divorced and separated parents in Australia. Getting full custody of child for the father means that the dad will have full rights over his kid.
Generally, ex-spouses will have an agreement about parenting plans for their kids. Parenting plans are non-legally binding agreements that set out parental arrangements. It’s important to note that ex-spouses who agree to these arrangements don’t have to go to court.
However, this isn’t always the case especially if the father wants full custody of his kid. Ex-spouses who continue to disagree may end up fighting for their child’s custody in family law courts. Indeed, courts prioritise children’s rights over parents’ rights in family law matters.
This is because family courts in Australia prioritise kids’ best interests. Child custody is a very complex matter in family law, so it’s important to seek legal advice from a lawyer. This article will discuss how to get full custody of child for father.
Full Custody or Sole Parental Responsibility?
It may get confusing, and you may be wondering whether full custody or sole parental responsibility is the right term to use when getting full custody of child for the father. However, Australian family law now uses ‘sole parental responsibility’ when addressing custody issues. Sole responsibility also enables parents to have full responsibility over their kids, and make long-term decisions for their:
- Religion and cultural upbringing;
- Healthcare arrangements; and
- Name changes.
Why the Child’s Best Interests Matter
Gaining full custody of child for the father will require the father to understand the child’s best interests. The child’s best interests are essential in order to settle parental arrangements, even when ex-partners don’t go to court. Moreover, the Family Law Act makes sure that kids are benefitted from a relationship with both parents. This also enables a parent to prove that they:
- Protect their kids from any form of abuse (physical, emotional, and psychological) or neglect
- Are capable of involving themselves in their kid’s life and sustaining meaningful relationships
- Can show their responsibility and ability to care for their kids
Family courts will balance these considerations but will give more weight to the child’s safety from abuse or neglect. Some parents may think that they receive the benefits of a meaningful relationship. However, it is the child that should receive this. According to the Family Law Act, some additional considerations for the child’s best interests are the:
- Views and opinions of the kid;
- Nature of his/her relationship with each parent and other family members (siblings, step-parents, step-siblings, and/or grandparents);
- Extent of the parent’s efforts in spending, communicating and participating in significant long-term decisions for their kids;
- Parent’s ability to fulfil their obligations to sustain his/her life and needs;
- Impact of separation or divorce from any people in the household;
- Expenses for the child’s needs;
- His/her capacity to keep up with spending time or communicate with each parent;
- Parent’s and their kid’s maturity, gender, lifestyle, and background; and
- Presence of family violence inside the house and apprehended violence orders (AVOs).
Full Custody of Child for Father: Case Study Example
In the case of Suskain & Materanzi (2015), the father (Materanzi) received sole parental responsibility for their kid after he separated from the mother (Suskain) in 2004. Materanzi filed for proceedings in May 2004, a month after he separated from Suskain. Suskain then entered into a new relationship in 2006, while Materanzi entered a new relationship in 2009.
The court made final orders that required the kid to live with the mother and spend time with the father. However, both parents met again in court because Suskain made child sexual abuse allegations against Materanzi in October 2007. Courts then allowed supervised visitation for Materanzi.
However, it was later found out that Materanzi did not commit child sexual abuse thus, reverting to unsupervised visitations in June 2010. Materanzi’s lawyer then proposed that both parents have equal shared parental responsibility over the kid. If they continue to disagree, Materanzi’s lawyer proposed that the father should receive sole parental responsibility.
The parent’s disagreement led to changing the orders, with the kid living with Materanzi and Suskain spending time with the kid. This is because the father was able to prove that he can sustain his kid’s education and medical fees.
On the other hand, Suskain failed to bring the kid to school on time on a Monday after a weekend visit. Furthermore, Suskain refused to hand over the kid to the father in one instance. Their dispute that night caused distress to their kid.
It was also concluded in a family report that there were difficulties over schedules regarding the changeovers. Despite the mother’s efforts in appealing the court’s decision about this final order, her appeal failed. This also resulted in the mother paying $5000 for Materanzi’s legal costs and Materanzi retaining sole parental responsibility over their child.
Tips on How to Get Full Custody of Child for Father
If fathers want sole responsibility over their kids, they should know that courts will generally grant shared custody. Hence, it’s difficult to obtain full custody of child for father, unless he can show the other parent’s incapability to raise kids.
In Materanzi and Suskain’s case, the father was able to prove that he can provide financial support to his kid’s school and medical fees. Following a divorce or separation, parties can take a few steps to increase their chances of getting full custody of child for the father. These consist of:
- Doing their best to come up with a resolution with the other parent
- Show that they can provide a secure and comfortable home for their kids
- Provide documentation, evidence, and statements that may prove the other parent’s incapability to raise a kid.
- Show that they are financially capable to provide for the kid’s basic needs (food, clothing, housing, school fees, medical fees)
- Go above and beyond regarding child care, financial support, emotional support, and guidance.
- Speaking with a family lawyer
Our lawyers at JB Solicitors continue to uphold the rights of fathers in custody matters. We also have mediation services in case fathers want to come to an agreement with the mother. This way, they can agree on arrangements that specifically cater to their needs.
Each case is different, and based on the circumstances of the case, one party may have more parental rights over the other. Click here to read about custody rights for mothers.
Contact us today to know more about how to get full custody of child for father.