Our Child Custody Lawyers Share What You Need to Know About Custody Arrangements

Navigating child custody arrangements during a divorce or separation can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. It is essential to understand the key aspects of child custody and seek legal advice to ensure that the best interests of your child are protected. In this blog post, our child custody lawyers will provide essential information and insights into child custody arrangements in Qld, including what the legislation says, so that you feel empowered to make informed decisions during this critical phase.

Understanding Child Custody Arrangements in Queensland

When it comes to child custody arrangements in the Australian legal system, it's important to understand that the term "custody" is no longer officially recognised.

Instead, the Family Law Act 1975 utilises different terms to describe parental responsibilities and the time children spend with each parent such as “sole parental responsibility” or “equal shared parental responsibility”.

However, the use of the term “custody” is still often colloquially used by parents - thanks in part to the prevalence of US legal tv shows in Australia. In fact, “child custody lawyer” is often one of the first things parents will type into their web browser when faced with the possibility of a separation.

What these parents might refer to as “child custody arrangements”, are known as “parenting arrangements” in Australia. These determine how the care, living arrangements, and decision-making responsibilities for children will be divided between separated or divorced parents.

In Queensland, the primary focus of the family law system is to prioritise the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements, as outlined in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

Types of Parental Responsibility & Parenting Arrangements

1. Sole Parental Responsibility (aka sole custody): In sole responsibility arrangements, one parent has the primary responsibility for the child's care and decision-making. The other parent may have visitation rights or specified time with the child.

2. Equal Shared Parental Responsibility (aka Joint Custody \ Shared Custody): Equal shared responsibility involves both parents sharing equal responsibility for major decision-making regarding the child's upbringing. The child spends significant time with each parent, ensuring a substantial and meaningful relationship with both.

There are Three Different Types of Parenting Arrangements in Queensland:

There are three different types of written parenting arrangements:

  • Parenting plan: An informal, written agreement that outlines commitments and arrangements you have made as parents in regards to your children.
  • Consent Order: A parenting agreement / parenting plan that’s been created by the parents (and their respective lawyers, if represented) and submitted to and approved by the court in order to be made legally binding. These have the same effect as other parenting orders. An experience family / child custody lawyer can assist with this.
  • Parenting Order: An order made by the court in regards to your parental responsibilities and parental arrangements. This is usually done when parents cannot agree, or it is inappropriate to attend dispute resolution together.

You can read more about the differences between parenting plans and parenting orders here.

Factors Considered By the Court

When determining child custody arrangements, the court considers various factors to ensure the child's best interests are met, as outlined in Section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). Some key considerations include:

1. The Child’s Wishes: The court may take into account the child's views and preferences, considering their age and maturity level.

2. Child's Relationship with Each Parent: The existing relationship between the child and each parent, including their emotional bond, involvement in the child's life, and ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment, is crucial.

3. Parental Cooperation: The willingness of parents to cooperate, communicate effectively, and facilitate a positive relationship between the child and the other parent is highly valued.

4. Child's Safety and Well-being: The court prioritises the child's safety, protection from harm, and their overall physical and emotional well-being.

Developing a Parenting Arrangement

Creating a parenting or child custody arrangement that suits the unique needs of your child and family requires thoughtful consideration and negotiation. Here are some essential steps to follow:

1. Open Communication: Establishing open and respectful communication with the other parent is key to developing a mutually agreeable custody arrangement. Clearly express your expectations and be open to compromise.

2. Consider the Child's Best Interests: Focus on what is best for your child rather than personal preferences or grievances. Maintain a child-centred approach throughout the process.

3. Flexibility and Adjustments: Recognise that these may need adjustments over time as the child's needs and circumstances evolve. Stay open to modifications that better serve the child's interests.

4. Seek Legal Advice: Consulting experienced family and child custody lawyers is crucial to ensure your rights are protected and the custody arrangement aligns with Queensland's family law regulations. Professional guidance can help you understand your legal rights, obligations, and options.

Need To Speak To Experienced Parental Child Custody Lawyers?

At Pullos Lawyers, our child custody lawyers have in-depth knowledge of Queensland's family law. We have a strong commitment to safeguarding the well-being of children and can provide tailored advice and guidance to help you navigate this challenging process. Whether you need assistance in negotiating a custody agreement in the form of creating a parenting arrangement, or applying for a parenting order, or even require representation in court, our skilled team is here to support you. Contact Pullos Lawyers today via our online form or on (07) 5526 3646 for a consultation and let us guide you toward the best possible outcome for your child and family.