The Family Court has the power to decide all disputes in relation to children’s custody and access arrangements, however the law requires that the parties (in most cases) must attend compulsory counselling first before any proceedings can be issued at Court.
Counselling is available at many Mediation Centres throughout the Melbourne area and we are able to refer you to an appropriate counselling body.
If counselling is successful and an agreement is brokered we are often engaged to draw a formal Agreement to record the agreement reached at counselling. That Agreement can either be an informal Parenting Plan which is persuasive to the Court (but not binding) or a Consent Order lodged at Court which is binding and has the status of a Court Order.
Under the Family Law Act the Court is required to consider shared care in many cases. This does not mean that automatically upon the breakdown of a marriage the children will be ordered to spend half of their time with their mother and half of their time with their father. The Court still needs to look into all of the relevant factors and in particular the previous history of parenting.
The factors relevant to the Court’s decisions can be quite complicated and we can provide legal advice prior to undertaking counselling so that you more fully understand the options available to you.you more fully understand the options available to you.