Child custody ‘rights’ and parenting arrangements

Are you being denied access to your child?

If you have been denied access to your child, or you are in a disagreement about your parenting arrangements you are likely to be searching for information about ‘child custody rights’. This term has had a name change and is now known as ‘shared parental responsibility’, ‘residence’ and/or ‘contact’.


When making children’s orders the Family Court’s main concern is ‘what is in the best interests of the children?’


It is important for your child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents and even grandparents.


How does the Court make a Parenting Order?


Before making parenting orders the court considers a range of factors to determine what is in the best interest of the children including age, relationship with parents, parenting capacity, views expressed by the child, the effect of separation on the child from a parent, domestic violence issues, child support arrangements and other issues.


What if I have been denied access to my child?


If you have been denied access to your child and you have a significant disagreement with your spouse about the amount of time to spend with your child it is important to commence Family Dispute Resolution with an Attorney General Appointed mediator as soon as possible.


The Family Law Act 1975 (the Act) requires you to attempt to resolve your dispute through Family Dispute Resolution before you file an application for a parenting order in relation to a child.


There are some exceptions to providing the certificate as a pre-court action that relate to violence, abuse and risk to the child and urgency so you should speak with a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner the Relationship Advice Line or a Family Lawyer.


How can Family Dispute Resolution help?


If you are denied access to your child, in most cases the initiation of Family Dispute Resolution mediation is not only an important pre-court action procedure but an important step in working out it out with your ex-spouse and reaching agreement.


Family Dispute Resolution became a mandatory pre-court action procedure because it results in faster, more sustainable parenting agreements for most people.


A resolution has helped hundreds of Perth parents reach agreements faster and regain access to their child.



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Heidi Smith is the principal psychologist at Aresolution. Heidi has over 12 years experience in counselling. Heidi is passionate about working with couples, families and individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In couple counselling Heidi has a particular interest in helping couples manage conflict and recover from affairs.