Will my ex-partner get equal contact with our kids after we split up?
Under current family law, there is a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility except in cases involving violence or child abuse. This does not necessarily mean an exact 50/50 time split and actual arrangements will depend on what is practicable and in the best interests of the child.
As an alternative to resolving parenting disputes via legal means, Relationships Australia offers a Family Dispute Resolution Service (now compulsory in cases not involving violence or child abuse) for couples in conflict over issues such as child contact. The Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners provide clients with a safe, supportive atmosphere and a method of talking to one another, to assist them to sort out the issues and come up with acceptable solutions.
Family Dispute Resolution is a voluntary process, and decisions made are not legally binding. Everyone gets the opportunity to express his or her own point of view and is free to talk about issues of concern, with everyone present. Relationships Australia has staff who have been trained to involve children in this process. Understanding how children feel and have been affected by separation often helps parents think and arrive at solutions that are in the best interests of the children.
Participants must be willing to listen to the other party and be genuinely willing to negotiate and commit to reaching a solution and considering a compromise. Participants must be prepared to follow the process.