Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi.

Contact Us

386 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne VIC 3002

Mon - Fri (8am - 7pm)

Call Us 24/7: 03 9419 6066

Follow Us

We always support you, you can contact us 24/7

Parenting Disputes

If you are facing any disputes between your ex-spouse about children or property matters, it falls under the category of family law. If you and your ex-spouse break up and are unable to come to an amicable agreement on an issue, it usually leads to a tremendous amount of stress and stops you from moving on in your life. Over the years, the Family Lawyer for Men have represented men caught in various and complex webs of family law issues. We understand the complications and overlaps of family law, family violence allegations, Intervention Orders and criminal law. More importantly, we know the strategies to work around these complications. Here at the Family Lawyer for Men, our aim is to help you navigate through your family law matter in the smoothest, swiftest and most efficient way possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

The key principle in Australian and international family law parenting matters is what is in the “best interests” of the child.

Based on the Family Law Act 1975, the best interests of the child is the paramount consideration of any dispute or issue. Every decision made in the Court is to ensure that the child receives proper parenting enable them to reach their fullest potential, to ensure that both parents meet their obligations and responsibilities in relation to the care and wellbeing of the child.

There are two main factors that make up the best interests of a child:

  1. The benefit of the child having a meaningful relation with both parents; and
  2. The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

The Court also takes into consideration a range of factors, including:

  • The wishes expressed by the child
  • The nature of the child’s relationship with each parent
  • The likely effect of any change in circumstances to the child
  • The capacity of each parent to provide for the emotional and intellectual needs of the child
  • The child’s maturity, sex and background, including any connection to a specific lifestyle, culture of tradition
  • The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm
  • Any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family
Interestingly, the term “parent” is not defined in the Family Law Act. In most cases, the biological parents of a child are considered their “parents”. In some cases, where there is same-sex relationship and the child is conceived either by one party from the relationship or by a surrogate, the parties of the relationship are presumed the parents of the child. Such presumptions can be disputed, where a judge will consider who is a “parent” of a child by looking at the circumstances of the matter.
The first point of call is always to try and negotiate or attempt mediation with your ex-spouse for parenting arrangements. If your ex-spouse is difficult to talk to and refuses your proposal, allowing a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf has shown to be more helpful in our experience. If the matter goes to Court, the Court will consider what is in the best interests of the child to decide who the child should primarily live with. (See “What are the “best interests” of a child?”) It is very rare for the Court to decide that the child should live with one parent 100% of the time and spend no time with the other parent. Even in cases where there are family violence allegations against one parent, the Court still allows for that parent to spend time with the child as it is in the best interests of the child to have meaningful relationships with both parents.

You and your ex-spouse can come to your own agreement about how much child support to pay. If there is no agreement, then the Services Australia (Child Support) will assess the amount of child support to be paid.

Staying on top of your child support payment as much as possible is important in your family law matter as it shows that you are fulfilling your parental responsibilities.
If your child is 18 years old or above and are studying or have a disability, they may be eligible for adult child maintenance.

You may estimate the child support payment through a free online calculator:

Free Online Calculator

If you disagree with the current child support amount you are paying, you may lodge a review through your myGov account.

Under the Family Law Act 1975, there is a presumption that both parents have equal shared parental responsibility. This means that you both have a role in making long-term and major decisions for the child, such as which school they go to, where they live, their religion and major health decisions. If your ex-spouse is making long-term and major decisions for the child without your consent or consulting you, they may be exercising sole parental responsibility and showing unreasonable control of the child, which may not be in the best interests of the child.
In some cases, a party may want to unilaterally move to another town, interstate or internationally with the child. This is a daunting and worrying thought for many parents who do not have primary care of the child. While the Court cannot prevent a parent from choosing to relocate, the Court can prevent a parent from taking a child with them to live in the new place of residence, if that place is far from the other parent. The Court also may make an Order that the child is placed on the Airport Watch List, where the child is restrained from leaving the country. If you have genuine fear that your child is at risk of being taken away by your ex-spouse, you should contact us immediately so that we can take action.
In most cases, you may apply for a recovery order, where the other parent who relocated with the child is requested to come back to the city or country where they were based originally. However, the outcome of your application is dependent on a variety of factors, such as family violence allegations, evidence for these allegations, whether the country (if it is an international relocation) is a party to the Hague Convention, and so on. If your ex-spouse has relocated interstate or internationally with the child without your consent, your first step should be to contact us immediately so we can take action.
In the event that your ex-spouse has applied for an Intervention Order (IVO) against you, it may prevent you from entering your home or from seeing your children. If you have an interim or final Intervention Order against you with restrictive conditions, even the most harmless text message to your ex-spouse or child, or showing up at the front door of your home could be a breach of the Order, possibly resulting in a criminal charge.
Sometimes in family law matters, the Court may appoint an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) as the child’s legal representative. The ICL is an impartial and independent lawyer who helps the Court decide in what is in the best interests of the child. Often, the ICL will meet with the child or children (if they are mature enough) to gather information about the matter and to hear their expressed views. The ICL may also contact the child’s teachers, doctors, psychologists or counsellors. The ICL will tell the Court what they think based on the evidence they have gathered. Their opinion is considered by the Judge, although the Judge may not do exactly what the ICL suggests. Usually, Legal Aid pays for the cost of the ICL. However, Legal Aid generally requests that each party pays a part of the ICL’s costs. If a party does not have the financial capacity to pay for their share of the cost and provides sufficient evidence for this, they may not have to pay or may only need to pay a reduced fee.

If you or your ex-spouse breaches a parenting order, this does not look favourably before the Court. The penalty depends on the seriousness and repetitiveness of the breach. Penalties for a breach of a parenting order may include:

  • Paying for any expenses incurred due to the breach;
  • Paying all or a portion of the other party’s legal costs;
  • Community work;
  • A fine of up to $6,600;
  • Jail term of up to 12 months.

The complying party may file a Contravention Application in Court, which notifies the Court of the breach and would usually request that the non-complying party pay their (the complying party’s) legal fees for needing to raise the matter in Court.

It should be noted that a Parenting Plan is not a Court Order and therefore a breach of a Parenting Plan does not typically have legal consequences.

A relationship is a ‘de facto’ relationship when two people are not married but live together on a genuine domestic basis. The same applies to same-sex couples.
If a de facto relationship has broken down, you have 2 years from the date of separation to apply in Court for a property settlement.
If your relationship was less than 2 years, the Court may still hear your application if the following applies:

  • There is a child of the relationship;
  • The relationship is registered with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages;
  • You or your ex-spouse made substantial financial or non-financial contributions to the relation.

A de facto relationship can be registered with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. A reason to register a relationship is so you do not need to provide evidence to prove that you were in a de facto relationship to apply for a property settlement.

If either you or your ex-spouse disagree that you were in a de facto relationship, the Court considers the following factors to determine this:

  • The duration of the relationship;
  • The nature and extent of your common residence;
  • If a sexual relationship exists;
  • The degree of financial dependant or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support;
  • The ownership, use and acquisition of the common property;
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  • If the relationship is registered in a State or Territory;
  • The care and support of children;
  • The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.