Are you a recently divorced or separated parent? Whether you are the mother or father of the children, you may be wondering about fathers’ rights after separation.
The purpose of this article is to discuss fathers’ rights after separation and the various avenues for settling the parenting arrangements of your children.
Are Fathers Rights After Separation Less Than the Mother’s?
It is commonly believed that fathers’ rights after separation are always less than that of the mothers. While this may have been true once upon a time, it is a massive misconception in modern times.
Some men will swear that this notion still exists because they have personally gone through a brutal custody battle, and the mother has come out with a greater degree of parental responsibility. The most common reasoning behind this can be attributed to stereotypical gender roles, which still exists amongst many households. This is where the man is the household’s breadwinner, and the mother stays at home and looks after the children. Accordingly, because of the time the mother and children have spent together and the bonds formed, the Court will appear to favour the mother. In actuality, if these roles were reversed and all other factors were equal, the Court would most likely father the favour.
Do Informal Arrangements Work?
It is always advised to work out the matter informally with your former partner before commencing any legal action, which is both costly and time-consuming. As discussed, fathers’ rights after separation are equal to that of the mothers. Accordingly, both parents should try their best to put aside any emotions and negative feelings towards their former partner and try and do what is in the best interests of any of their mutual children.
It is worth a shot to try and come up with agreeable arrangements with your former partner. Mutually agreeable arrangements may not happen right away, so it is essential that you consider giving them some time and then trying to discuss the matter again at a later time. If they are not acting fairly you can also try reaching out to mutual friends or even a relative of theirs to speak on your behalf.
Sometimes informal arrangements work, and there is no need to escalate the matter to a Court setting. However, sometimes they do not work – and minor disagreements can change everything quickly with nothing legally binding in place.
Proceeding To a Mediation Session
Assuming you and your former partner cannot come to an informal arrangement that is mutually satisfactory on your own, the matter will typically need to proceed to a mediation setting. Mediation is essentially a negotiation with a neutral third party – usually a mediator or even a family lawyer who is also an accredited mediator attempting to reach a compromise in parenting arrangements that is mutually satisfactory.
Although some individuals may wish to forgo a mediation session and proceed directly to The Family Court Of Australia, this is typically fruitless. The Court will most likely require that the parents have tried mediation before seeking relief in Court. Accordingly, proceeding directly to Court is a waste of time and money for both you and your former partner. The only exceptions to this are when it would be unfair on one parent to mediate with the other may be dangerous, violent or hostile.
Court Ordered Arrangements
If your matter is not resolved informally or through mediation, it will likely need to proceed to Court if you or your former partner wish to pursue it further. Court proceedings regarding parenting arrangements will start on the basis that each parent has equal shared parental responsibility. This means that Fathers rights after separation are comparable to that of the mothers.
As this is the starting point, it is up to each side to present evidence and arguments to the contrary to rebut the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility so that the Court favours one side of the other. The primary evidence the Court will consider are matters categorised as in the ‘best interests of the child’, and include:
- The need to protect the children from any family violence or physical and psychological abuse
- The benefit of the child maintaining a meaningful relationship with both parents, balanced with other factors
- The views of the child
- The child’s maturity and level of understanding
- The willingness of each parent to facilitate an ongoing relationship with each other for the benefit of the child
- Any unique characteristics of the child and their needs
- The likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances, such as their living situation and being separated from a parent
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
It is essential to keep in mind that fathers’ rights after separation are not less than the mother’s. Suppose you are a father experiencing unfair treatment by your former spouse in regards to your children. In that case, you should seek legal advice from an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
If you have any more questions regarding fathers’ rights after separation or any other family law matters, head on over to our blog section for more informative articles on a wide range of family law topics.
Alternatively, here are some of our newest articles linked below:
For more informative family law content, please check out our YouTube page. Alternatively, here are some educational videos linked below on separation and divorce matters, which you may find of some use: