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Family Dispute Resolution

When parents are faced with disputes over their children, the decisions are made pursuant the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

The Family Law Act applies to all children, whether their parents married, just lived together, or never lived together.


The primary focus of the Family Law Act is to ensure that the needs of the child is met and not the rights of the parents. You will hear the term “best interests of the children”, the Court will only make an Order as long as the Order is in the best interests of the children. The Family Law Act further states that the safety of children will be priority when making decisions about what is best for them. You should try and reach a decision together with the other parent prior to attending Court.


Parental Responsibilities

The Family Law Act states that parents have responsibilities and duties to their children.


What Does Parental responsibility mean?

 Parental responsibility means making decisions in relation to the following:

·         Education;

·         Religion;

·         Health;

·         The child’s name;

·         Living arrangements.


Each parent has equal shared parental responsibility for a child unless a Court makes an Order otherwise. Both parents will need to communicate together and make major long term decisions in relation to the children.

Equal shared parental responsibility does not mean equal time with each parent.


Family Dispute Resolution

 Families need to try and resolved their disputes by attending Family Dispute Resolution prior to making an Application to the Court for an Order.

Statistics state that you are likely to resolve your matter with a result that suits both parties and is less costly by attending Family Dispute Resolution rather than going to Court. 

Family Dispute Resolution is not always suitable and you do not have to attend if you are applying for Consent Orders or there is family violence or child abuse or there is a risk to their of these occurring or the matter is urgent; these are a few examples when it is not suitable.

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