Here at Catherine Henry Lawyers, our experienced family law team are often asked a variety of questions related to parenting matters. In this blog post, we’ve complied a few of the most frequently asked questions on this topic.
We signed a Parenting Plan but my ex isn’t complying with the terms. What do I do?
A Parenting Plan is an agreement setting out arrangements for the children. It is not binding on a court. If your ex is not complying with the terms, you will not be able to enforce the Parenting Plan via the court. In most cases, you will have to go to mediation as a first step. If that is unsuccessful, you will need to commence court proceedings for parenting orders.
We don’t have orders, what happens if my ex doesn’t return the children?
If you are the primary carer of the children and your ex doesn’t return them, you will probably need to commence court proceedings in order to have the children returned to you. Usually, you have to try mediation before commencing court proceedings. But, if you are the primary carer, you will probably be an exception to that rule.
I want to commence court proceedings so I can see my child, what do I need to do?
In most cases, before you can commence court proceedings for parenting matters you need to attend mediation. If mediation is not successful, the mediator will issue you with a certificate (called a section 60I certificate). This certificate needs to be attached to your court documents.
There are some circumstances where a section 60I certificate may not be required, but that is up to the discretion of the Court. Examples of where a s60I certificate may not be required are where there is serious family violence, or urgency.
My ex says they are entitled to 50/50 care of the children. Is that true?
There is no ‘entitlement’ to any particular parenting order. The Court can make an order that the children live with the parties equally but only if it is in the children’s best interests. There are several factors that the Court will consider before making an order that the children live with you and your ex equally. Some of those things include:
- how far apart you and your ex live
- the level of co-operation between you and your ex
- the age of the children.
What is an ICL?
ICL is short for Independent Children’s Lawyer. An ICL can be appointed by the Court to represent your child’s interests in your matter. The ICL will meet privately with your child. Your child will not attend the Court but rather the ICL will present information to the Judge about their welfare and views. The ICL can also make its own recommendations to the Court as to what it believes is in the best interests of the child.
What is a Family Report or Single Expert Report?
A Family Report or Single Expert Report are reports that are obtained from a family consultant/psychologist/psychiatrist to be used in the proceedings. The Family Report or Single Expert writer will meet with each party and the child separately and form a view as to what would be the most appropriate outcome to meet the best interests of the child.
My ex used to use drugs but says they no longer do. I’m concerned, what can I do?
If the matter is in Court, you can seek that your ex undergo hair, drug and alcohol testing. These tests can detect a number of drugs in the system including cocaine, opiates, phencvclidine, amphetamines, cannabinoids, benzo diazepines, synthetic cannabinoids and alcohol up to a period of 90 days.
I have a lot of texts from my ex which will be useful in my court case, how do I get them to you?
There are apps which allow you to extract SMS and call logs from your phone, and transport them in an easy to read format to your email address. One of those apps is called OnePlus Switch.
Are there any phone apps which will make co-parenting with my ex easier?
There are a number of applications which allow you to share calendars and make notes. A couple of examples include Cozi and 2Houses. These apps may me it easier for both parties to know when the children have school or sporting commitments and events. These apps could even replace the traditional communication book. However, you should ensure that you can download the notes and that data cannot be deleted by one party before you rely on this instead of a communication book. You should always remember that anything you write in an application like this can (and most likely will) be used as evidence in your parenting matter.
If you need assistance with parenting matters, our experienced team are here to help. Contact us today to arrange an appointment.