Divorce and Child Custody

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Cairns Divorce Lawyers

Child custody arrangements are made separately from your application for divorce. You can make child custody arrangements any time after you separate from your spouse, and before or after the divorce is finalised.

See our child custody page for more information.

If your situation is urgent, involves family violence or child abuse (or risk of abuse), or if the other parent refuses to negotiate, you may be able to apply directly to the court without going through mediation.

With Cairns largest most experienced family law team, we will be able to ensure you’re given the best guidance and support to provide you with the best outcome for you and your child. Whether you are seeking shared custody, sole custody or are having difficulty making arrangements with your former partner, we can help.

Contact us now for legal advice and support from one of our family lawyers in Cairns.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Separation and divorce – what’s the difference?

Put simply separation is when you and your partner stop living together as a ‘couple’. This applies to both married and de facto couples. Divorce is the legal ending of a marriage. To obtain a divorce, a married couple need to have been separated for 12 months with no chance of reuniting.

What child custody rights apply to de facto partners?

De Facto relationships that include children, fall under the same guidance given for married couples, as defined in the Family Law Act. Separated partners can still apply for parenting orders and arrange child support under the Child Support Act.

Who gets custody of the child in Australia?

Whilst many separating parents seek ‘sole parenting’ or ‘sole custody’ arrangements, it is in fact more common for equal parenting responsibility to be held by both parents. However, in cases where this presumption is rebuttable, such as irresponsible or harmful conduct by one of the parents towards a child or the other parent, the Court may refuse a parent’s shared responsibility.

What is shared parental responsibility?

Both parents have shared responsibilities in regard to children’s matters, playing an equal role in deciding on important aspects of their life such as health or religion. Only when it is not in the child’s best interests will courts change this presumption.

Will the child’s preferences be considered?

Although there is no need to meet a specific age before a child’s wishes in a custody matter are considered, their emotional maturity is taken into consideration. This means the views of older children in their teens will be considered more seriously than young children.