If you want sole custody of your child, you may be wondering what you need to do to achieve that type of arrangement. There are several factors that need to be taken into account. Here is what you need to consider about this aspect of family law:
1. If the other parent agrees, there is no contest.
Whether you are getting divorced from the other parent or have never been married, you can assume primary custody if he or she agrees to that arrangement. If he or she doesn't agree, the court may mandate a parenting order for you. To ensure it is amenable to your desires, you should work with a family lawyer who can help argue your case for you.
2. You may have to prove that the other parent is unfit.
Under the current law, Australian parents have an equal amount of responsibility. This does not necessarily mean that they get an equal amount of custody, but it indicates that they both have to be involved. However, if the child is at risk of danger, the shared responsibility is not enforced. Based on that, if you want primary or sole custody of your child, you may need to have a family lawyer prove that the other parent is unfit or dangerous.
3. Grandparents may petition to have some time with the child.
If you are successful in getting primary custody of the child from the other parent, that doesn't necessarily mean that you are done with your legal battle. If the other parent's parents (your child's grandparents) want to spend time with the child, they can also petition the courts for visitation.
Based on the Family Law Act, grandparents may be able to get court-mandated time with your child. If you want to avoid this, you need to have a lawyer who is prepared to argue against their claims.
4. Breaching parenting orders can carry serious penalties.
If you do not win primary custody of your child, you may be ordered to share custody with the other parent. You are required to follow the parenting order. If you breach the order, you may be fined, jailed or sentenced to community service. That is why it is critical to have a skilled family attorney helping you to get the custody agreement you want because if you don't like the order, you have to, unfortunately, follow it anyway.
5. Courts may reverse their opinions.
Parenting orders may be revisited, especially if one of the parties involved is not happy with the arrangement. These orders can be changed in a number of ways -- for example, recently a mother who had primary custody for her daughter for several years was ordered to turn over primary custody to the father. Because of risks like this, it may be best to stay in contact with your family lawyer even after the custody case has ended.
Welcome! My name is Jessica, and I work as a legal aid secretary. I am in awe of the lawyers in my office and the variety of cases they cover. From injury compensation to family court matters, they need to understand the law in a broad range of areas. As a legal secretary, it is often my job to research particular points of law or find certain cases for reference. It is a fascinating job and I work hard to keep up with the constant changes to our laws and legal processes. Friends and family often ask me for direction on legal matters and whilst I explain that I am no expert, I usually manage to provide sound advice. This blog is for people who share my passion for the law or who want to understand more about our legal system. I hope you find it engaging and useful.