Family Law FAQS

Do half-siblings have a right to see their other half-siblings during or after a divorce?

Case study: Matthew is going through his second divorce. He has one child, 17-year-old Mary, from his first marriage, and two children from his second, both under seven. His ex-spouse will not let Matthew’s older daughter have any contact with her younger half-siblings. Does Mary have any right to see her younger siblings? And, if so, what can she do to ensure she maintains a relationship with them?

Children Silhouetted agains the sunrise.

Yes, half-siblings can spend time with other half-siblings, especially when they have lived together when the parties were married or in a de facto relationship. Mary can see her younger half-siblings she's of an age where she can ask for this to happen. She can request a set time as to when she can see them and maintain regular contact with them via telephone or outings.

In parenting arrangements, does the court operate on the presumption of shared parental responsibility or shared time?

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Where the parents of a child have equal joint parental responsibility for the child, the court will consider that the parents should spend equal time or substantial and significant time with each parent. The court making a parenting order must apply the presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for their parents to have equal parental responsibility. This statutory presumption is rebuttable in circumstances where the court has reasonable grounds to believe that there exists abuse or family violence.

I’m going through parenting arrangements, but I’m concerned about my ex-spouse’s behaviour. Can I request a mental health check? If so, how?

Yes, a mental assessment can be requested if there is reason to believe that the ex-partner’s behaviour could cause harm to the child. An urgent application can be made to the requesting the testing.

I’m unhappy with the parenting arrangement settled by the court. What can I do?

If you are unhappy in the decision made by the family court, you can appeal to the court of appeal within the family court jurisdiction.

I pay child support, but I never get to see my kids. What can I do?

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How can a family lawyer help you in matters such as this? if child support is paid, but you never get to see the child, firstly, you need to register with relationships Australia to try and agree upon a parenting plan; if this is unsuccessful, the centre will provide a section 60I CERTIFICATE which you take to your lawyer, and he or she can then lodge an urgent application for you to see the child. The solicitor will then go to court with you and seek orders for you to spend time with the child.