Separating from your spouse or partner may be difficult, but when you have children together, that separation becomes immeasurably more painful. Instead of having to only cope with your own heartbreak and remorse, you must also consider what your children are going through and how they feel. It can be difficult to put your feelings aside for the well-being of your children. This is precisely why parenting orders are used during separations and divorces.
Establishing Fair and Protective Parenting Orders
Parenting orders are designed as a way to protect the interests of the children above the personal interests of the individual parents. Although the court presumes that it is in the children’s best interests to have both parents equally share parental responsibilities, in some cases this isn’t possible. If the parents cannot agree on an amicable parenting solution themselves, the court will make the decision for them based on its analysis of the situation.
The court will use the information put before it to determine how the children’s needs will be best addressed. In particular, the court will consider the following:
- Evidence of abuse. Has there been any evidence of physical or emotional abuse performed by either parent, including children witnessing or experiencing family violence, neglect, or physical or psychological abuse?
- Benefits of having two parents. The psychological benefit of the children being a part of a meaningful relationship with both parents is taken into consideration. If the need for safety outweighs the benefits of equal parentage, then the court will choose safety over the relationship.
- The views of the children. With whom the children want to live and with whom they feel safe, etc., will be considered. Children will not be forced to choose between parents, nor norced to express their views if they feel uncomfortable.
- Family relationships. How do the children react and respond to their parents, grandparents, and significant family and friends?
- Previous parental responsibilities. Questions to consider: Who has been most involved in the children’s lives so far? Who has made the majority of the parental decisions? Who has had the biggest impact on the children’s lives? Who has (and will be able to) financially support the children into adulthood?, etc.
- Best match. The maturity, culture, traditions, gender, and lifestyles of the children and how they relate to each parent—as well as anything else about the children that the court thinks is important—will be part of the decision.
- Post-separation circumstances. How has the children’s living arrangements been handled so far and how has the arrangement worked?
At Wayne Dawkins Lawyers, we understand how excruciating it is to be separated from your children. However, once the parenting order has been made, you must abide by it in all respects. Fortunately, with the right family lawyer, you can make sure that your parenting order is something you can live with. Contact us today and see how we can help you work with your ex to create an arrangement that is good for your children and you, or come up with a plan to change your current orders to allow the children more time with you. Call us today (08) 9214 3887 to secure your place in your children’s futures.