Custody & Contact Arrangements

    When a relationship breaks down often the primary concern of our clients will be the children and their ongoing living arrangements. Separating parties need to decide such things as to who will have parental responsibility for the children and with whom they will live. If no Court Orders are in place, even in circumstances where parents have separated, each parent will have joint parental responsibility for their children.

    Often even where parents have reached agreement about the ongoing arrangements for their children, their preference is to have this agreement formalised to ensure that both the children and their parents have stability, routine and certainty in their lives. Twigg Family Law assist their clients to have Parenting Orders made by the Court by consent reflecting the agreement reached between the parents. Parenting Orders usually address such things as:

    • Where a child will live;
    • The timing and frequency of the times that children will spend with each of their parents,
    • The sharing of special event days such as birthdays, Christmas, and school holidays, and
    • Specific issues related to such things as schooling, religion, culture, travel and medical issues.

    The role that grandparents, step parents, and other important people in the lives of children may also need to be considered and addressed.

    In circumstances where parents are unable to reach agreement as to the ongoing arrangements for the children they must first participate in mediation with a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner unless there has been domestic violence or the matter is urgent. If mediation is unsuccessful a parent may then make an application to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of Australia setting out the parenting arrangements they seek. The other parent then will have the opportunity to prepare a response setting out their proposed parenting arrangements. Ultimately if agreement is unable to be reached the Court will be required to make a determination as to what is in the best interests of the children. By law the best interests of the children are always the most important consideration.

    While the process of gaining Court Orders, either by consent or through contested Court proceedings, sounds complex we are highly experienced in resolving parenting matters. Our familiarity with the Court process ensures that we are able to provide you with appropriate advice relevant to your specific circumstances and to act in a time effective manner to ensure that your children's best interests are given priority.