A case of child custody can be an emotionally and financially draining process for parents. However, people can often forget about the impact child custody disputes can have on children.
However, the legislation that governs the child custody process outlines a series of children's rights as well as a variety of responsibilities parents have towards their offspring.
The Family Law Act's language
Family law deals with a number of family matters, such as divorce, property and child custody; the Family Law Act 1975 is the primary piece of legislation that governs these issues.
Additionally, you do not have to be in a marriage or de facto relationship for the Act to cover any disagreements in relation to your children.
The Act is a federal law and is thus the same for all children throughout Australia.
In recent years, family law has changed the way it talks about children and has removed belligerent language in favour of terms that encourage parents to cooperate and collaborate.
Previous renditions of the Act used terms such as 'winning a child custody battle', however, government authorities believed that these could negatively impact the final legal resolution. The main aim behind the changes was to transform the way parties thought about child custody cases. The language used in the Act is now underlined by themes that encourage shared parental responsibility - even after the conclusion of a child custody dispute.
It is important to talk to a family lawyer if you are unsure about your obligations under the Act.
Children's rights in family law disputes
The Act identifies and acknowledges that children have a series of rights.
For instance, according to the Act, a child has the right to know who their parents are and if possible, be cared for by both of them. Additionally, children have the right to spend time with their parents as well as communicate with them or with other important people in their lives.
Section 68L of the Act sets out allowances for a court order for the independent consideration of a child's interests. Specifically, if the court believes that the child's interests need to be represented independently from the other parties, he or she may be able to access an independent children's lawyer.
Family law is highly complex. To better understand the responsibilities and obligations you have as a parent under the Family Law Act, contact Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers today.