- Alternate Dispute Resolution – Mediation or Collaborative Law;
- Advising as to the best interests of your children;
- Negotiating and Preparing Consent Orders for parenting matters;
- Preparation of documents, representation and negotiations for parenting matters before a Court;
- Child Abduction;
- Urgent Applications for parenting matters; and
- Hague Convention matters.
At VM Family Law, our lawyers are experienced in representing and assisting clients with parenting arrangement matters including family dispute resolution, parenting plans, parenting orders, and consent orders. Depending on your requirements, our lawyers can represent you in Family Court or in family mediation. Our family law specialists can assess your situation and let you know the types of arrangements that are relevant to your case. When reaching a parenting agreement, it is important to be mindful of how the arrangements will affect you and your children. If you need a family separation lawyer in the Ipswich & Greater Springfield QLD areas, VM Family Law’s team of expert family lawyers are here to assist you and give you the best legal advice for your parenting arrangement situation. Chat to our team today!
What does Alternative Dispute Resolution / Family Dispute Resolution mean in legal terms and is it legally binding?
ADR stands for Alternative Dispute Resolution which includes a range of procedures and techniques to solve a legal issue to avoid the usual court proceedings. ADR for parenting arrangements can also be referred to as FDR – Family Dispute Resolution.
It is often the more affordable and less stressful method to use for parenting arrangements and is a necessary process to undertake before filing for a Court order.
ADR can result in a binding or non-binding agreement to resolve your conflict. Mediation and conciliation are the most common facilitative way of settling parenting arrangement disputes where a neutral party assists you to come to a resolution. The resolution is legally binding if all parties come to an agreement. It is then filed as a consent order.
A parenting plan is an non legally binding outcome that can come of ADR, so it is important to bear this in mind.
Both legal parents have equal and shared responsibility for any of their born or adopted children under the age of 18. If parenting arrangements do reach Court proceedings, the judge presumes that equal responsibility of any children is in the best interests of your child.
This does not automatically translate into equal shared custody and does not mean you will both get equal access or amount of time with your child.
However, separating parents must first go through FDR before seeking a parenting order through the Court.
You are able to argue that one parent is not fit for equal custody in a parenting arrangement but this may not result in sole parental responsibility or access to your child.
This is a common misconception, there are no Australian laws that give mothers any extra rights. While statistics do show that after most parental separations, children do end up spending more time with their mothers, this is due to consensual parenting arrangements.
Splitting up siblings for a parenting arrangement is a rare occurrence. Just like equal parent responsibility, the Court assumes that keeping siblings together is also in the best interests of your children.
It would have to be under exceptional circumstances such as a safety concern or if a child themselves presents a compelling reason. This is very unlikely to persuade a family court judge however.
A consent order is filed through the Court after Family Dispute Resolution so your parenting arrangement becomes legally binding.
A Parenting Order is put in place when separated parents cannot come to an agreement during ADR and must go through formal Court proceedings in front of a judge.
A parenting plan is a less formal way to record an oral or written parenting arrangement formed during ADR. It is not legally binding but can be easier and cheaper if both parties can happily come to an agreement.
We recommend always seeking the advice of a family dispute lawyer, no matter what process you use for a parenting arrangement. Book a consultation with one of our family law specialists.
There is no fee to file a consent order with the Court. However, each party must pay their own individual fees for any legal services such as advice or representation from family lawyers that they have received.
If you break a parenting plan, you are not technically breaking the law however the other parent may take you to court and you may need to change your parenting arrangements and they will become legally binding.
A consent order or parenting order is enforced by the law and depending on which is required, a location order or recovery order may be filed if a parent does not comply with showing up for a child or returning the child. There may also be further penalties such as jail time.
Yes, text messages, social media posts and emails may all be used as evidence in Court as need be. For example, text messages may be used to show that one parent is abusing or ignoring the other when it comes to parenting arrangement matters.
However, you must keep in mind that irrefutable proof of the time, date, phone number must be given and screenshots are not viewed as reliable evidence.