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What is Child custody

Child custody refers to the legal and practical arrangement for the care and upbringing of a child after the parents’ separation or divorce. It involves determining where the child will live, who will make important decisions about their upbringing, and the visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent. Child custody arrangements aim to prioritise the best interests of the child while considering factors such as their physical and emotional needs, stability, and relationship with each parent.

Framework for Child custody

Our team of family lawyers is dedicated to empowering you with a comprehensive understanding of your rights and responsibilities. With our expertise, you’ll navigate these challenges with clarity and confidence, prioritising the well-being of your children. Together, we’ll craft tailored parenting plans that address your family’s unique needs, ensuring a smooth transition for all involved.

Parenting and child custody

A parenting plan is a non-binding agreement between parties which sets out the agreed parenting arrangements for the children. A parenting plan is an inexpensive alternative which allows the parties greater flexibility in preparation and control of the arrangements. However, it is important to be aware a parenting plan is not binding. If one party does not comply with the agreement there is no mechanism of enforcement.


If you and your partner cannot reach an agreement about children’s matters, or if there are urgent issues that need to be addressed, Family Court proceedings may be necessary. We can represent you in court and guide you through what can otherwise be a confusing process.

If the parties agree on the parenting arrangements of the children, a parenting order may be made. This involves an application to the court for consent orders which sets out the parenting arrangements including who the child will live with, the time they spend with each parent or relative, communication between the parent and the children and any other aspect of care and welfare for the child.

The benefit of a parenting order is that it is binding. The order is granted and endorsed by the court. If one party does not follow the order, an application can be brought to the court for contravention.

Parties to a parenting dispute are required to attend compulsory mediation with a family dispute resolution practitioner to attempt to resolve the dispute before making application to the Court.

A certificate known as a “Section 60I Certificate” will be issued after the family dispute resolution process is undertaken, which a party can then use in support of their application to the Court. There are exceptions to this rule, such as urgency.

Can I appeal a Child Support decision?

If you are unable to settle or matter, then you may be forced to seek the assistance of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA) to resolve your matter.

Your case in will be commenced once all attempts to resolve your case by negotiation have failed.

A case in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia starts by filing the following documents:

What Our Clients say

You have Questions. We have Answers.

Frequently asked questions

Before making an application to the court, the Family Law Act requires parties to make an attempt to resolve disputes by using family dispute resolutions services (FDR).

There are some exceptions which may include an urgent application, allegations of family violence, and allegations of abuse.

When making a parenting order, the court does not hear from the children directly as they do not go to Court. The children’s views are obtained by a Family report or through an Independent Children’s Lawyer (if one is appointed).

While the children’s views may be useful to the court, it does not mean the court will make an order for what the children want.

The court will determine and make orders for what is in the child’s best interest.

The ICL assists the court in deciding what arrangements are in the children’s best interest.

The ICL obtains information about the children’s views, collates relevant information, and provides this to the court.

The ICL makes recommendations and proposes arrangement which would be in the child’s best interest.

The law in relation to collection from daycare and other childcare facilities provides that the child’s enrollment record must identify who is authorised to collect the child from the children’s service. 

If you are not on the enrollment form, this will cause further complications.

You should make inquiries with the daycare to ensure they will release the child to you prior to attending the pickup.

You should also let the other parent know of y our intentions so as not to cause a panic.

Family Court will take a child’s wishes into account but will give weight to those wishes which are proportional to the child’s maturity and ability to express his or her wishes.

If you are a grandparent and you have been involved in the care, welfare and development of your grandchildren, then you may be able to file an application for orders at Court if you are being denied time with your grandchildren.

The Court recognises the importance of the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren and how this relationship can foster a child’s welfare and development.

Take back control

At The Family Lawyer, our mission is simple: to help people. Whether you’re navigating a divorce, resolving a custody dispute, seeking assistance with family violence, or need a fair property settlement, we’re here to advocate for your rights and champion your interests.

During your Free Appointment we will:

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

1300 111 835