Making sure that your children are taken care of will be one of the most important matters to attend to. Once you have separated you should discuss with your former spouse where the children should live and the time each party is to spend with the children. If you cannot reach agreement you should contact your local counsellor or relationship centre to try and negotiate the time to spend with the children.
Once you have reached an agreement you can enter into a parenting plan however the plan is not a binding document. The preferred course is to have the agreement formalised as an order of the Court or a formal agreement.
Should you not be able to reach an agreement then you should make an application to the Court for orders as to spending time with your children. At the time of filing an application however the Court requires that you file a certificate that you have attended at family dispute resolution which shows that you have made a genuine attempt to resolve the issues in dispute. The only exceptions to filing a certificate is if there has been violence or abuse or grounds of urgency.
We can advise you as to the correct process to follow and guide you through this process.
Remember that you are entitled to spend time with your children to ensure that your relationship with your children is maintained. If your former spouse is refusing to let you see your children you should call us so that we may give you the appropriate advice to ensure that you take the steps needed to see your children. We can provide answers to the many questions such as how long will it take, is supervision necessary, can I relocate with my children and what can I do to protect my children to name a few.
We can guide you through the complex Family Law process and make sure that you take the steps needed so that the best interests of the children are always maintained as the paramount concern.
Once you have separated and the children are living with you, you are entitled to attend your local Child Support Office(DSS office) and lodge an application for child support. It is important to note however that each parent is responsible for financially supporting their children until they are 18 years old and in some cases over 18 years.
Once you have lodged the application the Child Support Agency will assess the amount of child support to be paid and will issue a notice to your former spouses employer. If you or your spouse are not happy with the assessment then an objection can be lodged with the Child Support Agency.
Alternately you may enter into a Child Support agreement with your former spouse which will override the assessment. This agreement must however be approved by the Child Support Agency and registered in the Court(in the case of a binding child support agreement).
We can assist you with the preparation of the child support agreement and ensure that the strict requirements required for the agreement are met.
Whilst child support applies until your child or children turn eighteen years of age you can seek child support for a child over eighteen years of age in certain circumstances by applying to the Child Support Agency or to the Court. You must however apply before the child turns 18, unless there are special circumstances.