What Does “Parenting” and “Property” mean?

Parenting and property issues are dealt with by the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, under the Family Law Act, 1975.

These Courts are Commonwealth Courts, not state courts and the Family Law Act is a Commonwealth Act, not a state Act. This means that the law relating to parenting and property disputes apply to all of us in Australia, no matter what State or territory we live in.

The Family Law Act deals with parenting arrangements for children born to married and non- married couples, and to same sex couples. Equally, the Act deals with property disputes between married and non-married couples, including same sex couples.

Family lawyers use the word “parenting” to refer to issues or dispute between parties regarding the care and living arrangements for their children. The words “custody”, “residence”, “contact” and “access” are no longer words used in the Family Law Act when referring to children. Family lawyers and the Courts talk about who the children “live with” and “spend time with”.

Unfortunately, many separated couples have difficulty reaching an agreement as to parenting arrangements for their children. Often disputes arise as to where the children should live, which school they should go to, whether they should move away to another town or state and how much time (and type of time) they should spend with the other parent.

Family lawyers provide you with advice about your parenting problems. They offer sensible alternatives to reaching an agreement with the other parent. What is in the best interest of each individual child is the most important factor when considering the appropriate parenting arrangement. It is not a “one size fits all” solution.

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