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Understanding Parenting Orders in Family Law

The parenting orders in Australia are unique. This is because the Australian family law rules are designed to protect the children’s best interests and ensure that they establish and maintain good relationships with their parents. All the decisions related to child care and protection are solely provided by the family court. 

If you are a parent seeking the best ways to see your children, it is essential to consult with an experienced family law expert who can help you navigate the complex legal system and ensure that your rights are protected.

What Rights Does a Father Have to See His Child in Australia?

The Australian family law rules have moved away from the traditional mother-first notion regarding parental rights. The change was entered into force by the Family Law Amendment in 2006, causing the Australian family law to move away from the popular full-custody model. 

Instead, the new Australian family law rules indicate that parents have equal parental rights towards their children. As such, the father’s right to see his children is guaranteed and can only be legally cancelled when proven that he is an acceptable risk to the children. But to enforce this, the mother must provide sufficient proof to establish such a claim, thereby preventing the father from seeing his children.

Aside from the Australian family law rules’ general principles, other factors influence the father’s right to see his children, including the following:

1. Physical and Mental Health

According to the Australian family law rules, the father’s physical and mental health is a factor to consider in determining his right to see his children. The family courts will consider any evidence of domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse or mental illness when making decisions about parenting orders. 

If the father has a history of violence or substance abuse, the court may order supervised visitation or limit his access to the children altogether. In cases where the father has a mental illness, the court will consider whether he is a danger to himself or others and whether he can care for the children. 

The court will also examine the father’s ability to communicate with and cooperate with the other parent in making decisions about the children. If the father excels in both, he will be afforded the parental rights he deserves.

Suppose the court sees that the father is physically and mentally fit to perform his fatherly functions, the court will automatically grant his parental rights, guaranteed by the existing Australian family law rules. 

2. Living Environment

The family law rules in Australia also consider the father’s living situation in determining his right to see his child. If the father is living in a stable and safe environment, he will likely be able to exercise his rights to see his children. 

Family law rules also consider the father’s relationship with the children’s mother. The visitation will depend whether the father has a good or strained relationship with the mother. The family law is designed to protect the children’s best interests and ensure that they have a relationship with their mother and father.

3. Level of Involvement

The family court considers the level of involvement a father is willing to take regarding childcare as a factor in deciding his rights to see his children. If the court sees that the father could provide more quality time taking care of the children, he will most likely be granted more hours to see and be with them.

Can a Father Take a Child Away from the Mother?

The Australian family law rules that child care is the responsibility of both parents. Due to this, parents are expected to handle these responsibilities in the best ways possible. However, there are cases wherein their fathers take children away from their mothers. Typically, these have happened due to the following reasons:

  • The mother is physically or mentally unable to provide for the children’s needs.
  • The mother is proven to be a complete risk to the children.
  • The mother lives in a dangerous and chaotic environment.

But because of the equal parenting rights guaranteed by the Australian family law rules, the family court is the sole entity that can order the separation of the children from their mothers. The court can only deliver these functions after their help is sought by the father.

The judge will only grant the mother’s request for denial of access to the child under extreme circumstances or when the best interests of the young ones are at stake. Thus, denying the mother access is not imposed in the following situations:

  • Failure to pay child support.
  • Failure to provide a higher level of childcare involvement.
  • Failure to visit the children per the existing custody agreement.

At What Age Can a Child Decide Who to Live With in Australia?

Contrary to the common notion, the Australian family law rules don’t prescribe any age requirement that will be used as the basis to let the child decide who to live with. Instead, the family court considers the following factors in determining the children’s living arrangement with their parents.

  • Maturity levels of the children.
  • The children’s understanding of the situation.
  • The level of information the children have in making their decisions.
  • The presence or lack of influence that the children have from parents and relatives in making the decision.

How Madison Marcus Can Help You

The parenting orders embedded in the Australian family law rules are different from those that adhere to the full custody model. This is because the Australian version considers parenting as a full responsibility of both parents. Due to this, the family court is regarded as the sole decision-making body regarding family law-related cases.

So, if you are currently involved in various parenting issues, you should hire a reputable family lawyer from Madison Marcus. Our family lawyers have extensive knowledge on parenting orders under family law rules.

For all enquiries or a free 15-minute consultation,contact us here.


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