Family Law

At Affinitas Legal, we understand that your child’s best interests are paramount following divorce or separation.

Agreeing on child custody arrangements during this difficult time is an emotional and complex process. To ensure the fairest, safest and most suitable outcome for your family, our child custody lawyers are here to guide you through the entire process with tailored and professional legal support.

 

Support with child custody arrangements.

Our trusted legal team can help you to create child custody arrangements that will protect your child’s best interests following family breakdown.

We will support you in reaching a negotiated settlement that respects all parties and any Court-ordered childcare arrangements. If you are unable to reach an agreement outside of Court, our child custody lawyers have the expertise and experience to represent you in all family matters. As your dedicated legal team, we are fully committed to achieving the optimal arrangement for you and your family.

Determining child custody arrangements.

 

The Family Law Act details which considerations the Family Court must take into account when determining child custody arrangements within Western Australia.

Primary considerations

 

  • The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence.
  • The benefit to children of having a meaningful relationship with both parents.

Additional considerations

 

  • The child’s views and factors that might affect those views, such as the child’s maturity and level of understanding.
  • The relationship of the child with each parent and other people.
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and nurturing relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • The effect any change of circumstances on the child being separated from a parent or person with whom the child has been living.
  • The practical difficulty and associated expenses of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent.
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs.
  • The maturity, sex, lifestyle and background of the child and parents.
  • The attitude of each parent to the child and to the responsibilities of parenthood.
  • The right of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child to enjoy his or her culture and the impact a proposed parenting order may have on that right.
  • Any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family.
  • Any family violence order that applies to the child or a member of their family
  • Whether it would be preferable to make the order that would be least likely to lead to further court applications and hearings in relation to the child.

Without a full understanding of child custody laws, it’s normal for this process to feel overwhelming. Our lawyers promise to provide you with clear explanations, genuine guidance and expert advice so that you remain fully informed every step of the way.

 

Binding Child Support Agreements

In Australia, both parents must provide financial support for their child until he or she has reached the age of 18 or completed full-time education – whichever comes last. These child support payments are often a source of concern, confusion and conflict between separated parents.

While the Child Support Agency uses an assessment formula to calculate the amount payable, parents may instead choose to enter into a private agreement without official intervention. If you do not have a Binding Child Support Agreement (BCSA) in place, your private arrangement will not be legally enforceable.

Our child support lawyers are available to assist you in entering into a BCSA, as well as ensure you are paying and receiving the correct amount thereafter. Together, we will safeguard your child’s financial security.

 

Meet our experienced team of family lawyers.

At Affinitas Legal, our family lawyers can assist with all aspects of parenting disputes and assist you to reach a child-focused parenting arrangement. If you would like tailored advice in respect to your specific parenting circumstances, please get in touch for a consultation.

 

Frequently asked questions

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Binding Child Support Agreement?

 

Advantages of a Binding Child Support Agreement

 

  • With an assessment for periodic child support in place, income fluctuations, adjustments to childcare arrangements and any additional children will be taken into account.
  • As the terms of a BCSA are legally enforceable, it provides certainty regarding the future financial support for your child.
  • You can document agreements on non-periodic payments that are not always accounted for by the CSA, including extracurricular activity expenses, private school fees and private health insurance.
  • You have the flexibility to cover as many variables as you wish into a BCSA, such as what will happen if one parent becomes unemployed.

 

Disadvantages of a Binding Child Support Agreement

 

  • BCSAs are difficult to have set aside, even when both parents wish to do so.
  • If you have not set a periodic amount of child support payments, this may fluctuate according to changes in the assessment.

 

What are the Binding Child Support Agreement requirements?

 

Several conditions must be met to ensure your Binding Child Support Agreement is valid:

  • Firstly, both parents must obtain independent legal advice before agreeing on a specified amount of child support payments
  • Once the terms of the agreement are finalised, they must be documented in writing and signed by both parents
  • This document must include:
  • A statement that both parents have received independent legal advice
  • An annexure for each parent, which is signed by the professional who solicited this legal advice
  • Finally, to receive child support under a Binding Child Support Agreement, the parent must be responsible for at least 35% of child care

 

What if we cannot reach an agreement on child custody arrangements?

 

If you simply cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, there are several options to consider. These include mediation and applying for the Court to make parenting orders.

Understanding which route is most appropriate for your distinct situation may require expert advice from an experienced child custody lawyer. Contact Affinitas Legal for tailored support with your unique circumstances.

 

What happens if a parent breaks a custody agreement?

 

The Family Court can penalise a parent for breaking a parenting order if another person lodges an application claiming that the parent has failed to abide by its terms and conditions.

  • Depending on the gravity and circumstances of the contravention, penalties can include:
  • Alterations to the primary order
  • Parenting program attendance
  • Community service participation
  • Compensation for time lost with the child and other relevant expenses
  • Payment of the other party’s legal fees
  • Fine payment
  • Prison sentencing

It’s important to note that an informal child custody agreement is not legally enforceable. Therefore, if you experience a period of disharmony of conflict, either or both parents may act against the agreement’s terms. To avoid this risk, you will need to put binding child custody arrangements in place.

Does shared parental responsibility mean equal time spent with our child?

 

In Australia, there is a presumption that both parents should equally share parental responsibility for their children. Importantly, this does not mean that time with each parent should be equal. Rather both parents, where appropriate, make important decisions in relation to the children, for example, their educational or medical needs.

 

What Our Clients Say

Thanks to Kyran and Aimee for assisting through various court matters. Kyran is very professional, sincere and reliable person. He is very thorough and don’t miss anything which is very important to the case.

Both Aimee and Kyran are proactive and kept me informed throughout the court process. Due to Kyran knowing my situation and my case properly, I was able to successfully obtain a Recovery Order from family court. I highly recommend Affinitas Legal for there professionalism, affordability and friendly approach.

V Kumar

 

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