What if I have children under 18 years of age?

Until the Court makes an order both parents can make decisions in relation to a child, even if the child is not living with them.

The Court can make an order deciding if both parents have equal parental responsibility or if one parent will have sole parental responsibility. There is a presumption that equal parental responsibility will apply unless the presumption can be rebutted by factors such as a family violence.

The Court can also divide responsibilities. For example, one parent may have parental responsibility in relation to a child’s schooling and the other parent may have parental responsibility in relation to a child’s medical concerns. Parental responsibility relates to major long term issues not issues such as hair cuts or other day to day activities.

Where parties can agree to the living arrangement of a child they can enter into a Parenting Plan or file Consent Orders with the Court.

If a child under the age of 18 is predominantly living with you, you should make contact with the Child Support Agency.

If you  are applying for a Divorce of the arragements in relation to children need to be set out in the Divorce Application. You may also be required to appear in front of the Family Court Registrar to provide evidence that the proper arrangements have been made for children under the age of  18.

Examples of proper arrangements are informing the Registrar of the child’s living arrangements, schooling and child support payments.

By Anna Roberts

Director, Solicitor & Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

Anna Roberts