Divorce happens in over 10,000 people in Queensland. Over 30% of these, unfortunately, involved children. With kids part of the equation, the process, especially about custody, can be challenging and even messy. That’s why parents may need to get legal help from experts in family law in Townsville.
It also helps to break common misconceptions about child custody or arrangements in Australia:
1. A Child below 18 Years Old Should Be with the Mother
The idea that children always end up with the mother in custody battles is not absolute. While most do, they can still end up with the father. It depends on what the court thinks is best for the kid. If one of the parents seems unfit to raise the children, then a judge may grant custody to the other. Studies, though, reveal a link between absentee father and school and mental health issues on children. Kids may benefit from seeing both parents as often as possible.
2. Kids Cannot Stand in Trial
This claim is not valid. As mentioned, the court oversees the best interest of the child. It may eventually ask the opinion of the kid, especially as to where they like to live or spend time with. The court, though, also considers the maturity or intelligence of the child. The court will work closely with child services and counsellors to determine whether the kid can be part of the custody hearings.
3. Legal Custody Is the Same as Physical Custody
In family law, you’ll come across many terms that seem to sound and mean the same. Take, for example, legal and physical custody. They are so common that people use them interchangeably, but they don’t share the same meaning.
- Physical custody refers to where the child lives.
- Legal custody determines who has legal rights to make decisions for the child.
The dad may have physical custody of the kid since the school is near his home. However, the court may grant legal custody to the mom. It means the mother has the final say on the child’s needs, such as education and healthcare.
Both parents may also have joint custody, which implies they share legal responsibilities in raising the child. Working with experts in family law in Townsville can help clear matters up. This way, parents know what they want even before they attend custody hearings.
4. Parents Need to Go to Court for Agreements
According to the Australian Government Initiative, they don’t. Parents can agree between themselves about the child’s welfare, including:
- Where the child will live
- Who will pay for the kid’s expenses
- Time the other parent can visit
- Shared parental responsibilities
The idea that parents can have 50:50 parenting time or custody is not mandatory. One parent can have more time over the other. They may also change future arrangements without going to court. However, they also have the option to apply for parenting orders. They contain the guidelines and agreements set by the parents and even the court.
5. Spousal Maintenance Also Covers Child Support
Spousal maintenance doesn’t equate to child support. The former is a financial support an ex-partner receives. It can be temporary, and depending on the financial status of the ex, the court may or may not grant it.
Child support, meanwhile, is the responsibility of the parent. It is so essential that the law allows even non-parent to apply and collect it. This person may be the eligible carer or the child’s guardian. Both don’t have minimum or maximum amounts. The government uses specific formulas to come up with the number.
Divorce isn’t an easy process, especially when kids are a part of it. Parents, though, can soften the impact when they know the law, rights, and responsibilities.