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:
- The benefit of the child having a meaningful relation with both parents; and
- 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
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:
If you disagree with the current child support amount you are paying, you may lodge a review through your myGov account.
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.