Parenting Plans & Consent Orders
Why engage Sheehan & Co. to assist you reaching agreement with your former spouse/partner in relation to parenting arrangements for your children?
Unfortunately, children sometimes become the pawns in a breakdown of adult relationships. For some parents, this is a deliberate; for others, it is simply use to not understanding either the extent to which children's lives will be affected or the extent to which a former spouse/partner will go to seek retribution or apportion blame.
Issues may arise between you and your former spouse/partner regarding where the child is to reside or what amount of time your child will spend with each parent.
We will assist you in endeavouring to reach agreement with your former spouse/partner in relation to parenting arrangements for your children which are in the best interests of each child. We will encourage your former spouse/partner to settle any disputes through Family Dispute Resolution wherever possible. It is better for all parties concerned to reach agreement without going to Court.
We will try to avoid you having to resort to Court proceedings, but where it becomes obvious that it is necessary for you to take Court action, we will work with you to present to the Court the most persuasive arguments based on the available evidence on your behalf.
What are Parenting Plans and Consent Orders?
If you and your former spouse/partner agree on the future arrangements for the care and welfare of your children (such agreement either reached between you and your former spouse/partner or through Family Dispute Resolution processes), rather than going to Court in the first instance, you have the following options:
make a Parenting Plan which records the agreed parenting arrangements for your children and is signed by both you and your former partner on the basis that it is entered into free from any threat, duress or coercion; or
apply for Consent Orders whereby the Court approves the agreement reached between you and your former partner if the Court considers that satisfactory arrangements have been put in place for the children.
What are your options if you cannot reach agreement with your former spouse/partner?
do nothing: this option is unlikely to be in the best interests of your children and the conflict between you and your former spouse/partner will continue; or
file an application in the Court: the dispute will be firstly referred to Family Dispute Resolution. However, if such resolution process is unsuccessful, then the Court will give directions to you and your former spouse/partner to prepare the matter for a Court hearing. At the directions hearing, an approximate hearing date will also be given by the Court. If you are seeking urgent orders, interim orders will be made by the Court depending on what affidavit evidence is presented and the submissions made to the Court.
The paramount consideration: the "best interests" of your child
How does the Court determine what is in the "best interests" of your child? To answer this question, the Court looks at the matters set out in section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). The overarching approach of the Court is that, unless there is evidence to the contrary, the primary consideration is the benefit to your child of having a meaningful relationship with both you and your former spouse/partner as well as the need to protect your child from physical or psychological harm.
Our services in this area are tailored to achieve better outcomes for you
Taking into account section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and the Court's overarching approach stated above, we will work with you to formulate a plan unique to the facts and circumstances of your case which is practical and most likely to work on a day to day basis. We will then submit your plan to your former spouse/partner for his or her consideration or as a response to any plan firstly submitted to you by your former partner/spouse.
We will conduct negotiations with your former spouse/partner or his or her solicitor on your behalf to ultimately achieve a Parenting Plan or Consent Orders which are satisfactorily to you and, most importantly, in the best interests of your child.
Make an appointment
Our office is centrally located within the Surat Basin and we are pleased to meet with clients in person, via telephone or home visit to discuss your legal needs in this area.
Remember - it pays to get the right advice!
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