Often the reason behind separating from your former spouse, or getting a divorce, is because you were in an abusive relationship wherein you were constantly being exposed to harm. If children are involved in such relationships, the parent who is subjected to harm will considering getting sole custody of the child in Australia.
This is because the parent wishes to protect the child from future harm, which the child could otherwise be subjected to.
Sole custody in Australia is more commonly referred to as sole parental responsibility. This article aims to explore all relevant aspects related to sole custody Australia.
What Does Sole Custody Mean In Australia?
The term sole custody means that only one parent will have all the decision-making authority concerning the child, and other major responsibilities in the child’s life.
Rights That Parent With Sole Custody Will Have
An order of sole custody, or sole parental responsibility, will provide the parent with: –
- sole responsibility for some or all areas of the child’s life – without the need to consult their former spouse, with respect to those responsibilities specifically ordered by the Court;
- the option of letting the child live with the parent with sole custody exclusively; and
- deciding the extent of contact that the child is to have with the former spouse.
Generally, an order of sole custody in Australia does not automatically mean that the child is not allowed to meet the non-resident parent at all. This largely depends on the case, and whether or not the child is exposed to danger if the non-resident parent is allowed access.
What Do Judges Look For When An Application For Sole Custody Has Been Made In Australia?
To make decisions about sole custody of child in Australia, judges and courts give paramount consideration to the best interests of the child. Section 60CC of the Family Law Act (1975) gives an elaborate outline on what is considered to be the best interests of the child, and the court makes decisions by taking them into consideration.
In Australia, there is a legal presumption that both parents must have equal shared parental responsibility for the child. This is because it is considered that the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents is in his/her best interests.
However, this presumption can be rebutted if there is sufficient evidence of harmful conduct of one spouse towards either the other spouse, or the child.
How To Apply For Sole Custody Australia?
The parent who is seeking sole custody will need to rebut the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility, and prove that having sole custody is in the best interests of the child.
To do so, the parent seeking sole custody will need to file an affidavit, which details the reasons why the parent is seeking sole custody. In support of this application, the parent will also need to compile evidence.
Types Of Evidence That The Judges Will Use To Make A Decision
Once an application for sole custody has been made, the court may consider the following as evidence: –
- Police Reports – in case of domestic violence, physical abuse, or psychological abuse
- Court Orders
- Witness Statements
- Evidence of total breakdown of communication between the parents
- The psychological state and stability of each parent
- The risk of the child being exposed to violence, as stated in Section 61DA of the Family Law Act (1975). This includes if the parent has engaged in abuse of the child, or family violence.
- Any other indicator which demonstrates that joint parenting will do more harm than good to the child.
Once the court is satisfied that granting one parent sole custody of the child is in the best interests of the child – the court will make parenting orders granting sole custody to the parent who has made the application.
Essentially, this means that the court grants sole “parental responsibility” that gives one parent full decision-making authority.
Importance Of Seeking Legal Advice
If you are considering applying for sole custody of your child because you are concerned for the safety of you child, it is advisable that you seek the guidance of family lawyers.
Family lawyers know how complex each family law case can be. Because each case is different, and the circumstances of each case differ widely, it is recommended that you seek legal advice that is tailored to your specific situation.
The legal procedures of applying for sole custody of your child can sometimes get too demanding. This greatly adds to the stress that you are already facing. At JB Solicitors, our compassionate family lawyers know how to deal with each unique case, such that your pressures will be greatly reduced.
Compiling evidence while applying for sole custody of your child in Australia is a daunting task. With the help of our experienced lawyers, you will be able to complete all legal procedures efficiently and in due time.
JB Solicitors cares for the mental wellbeing of our clients, and strives to do its best in reaching the desired outcomes. If your family law case requires court intervention, we will be working with you every step of the way, and simplifying all the legal procedures.
Contact our lawyers today and obtain market-leading legal advice in a friendly atmosphere.