When getting a divorce, you might have concerns about your rights as a parent. How will they be affected now that you’re no longer parenting jointly, but rather as two single parents.
Here are some key things that you need to know about your rights as a parent, when facing separation or divorce.
Your Child’s Rights
Firstly, you need to remember the main concern is the rights of your child. The Family Court has often said that only children have rights; parents have responsibilities!
The rights of children include the right to be safe, to be treated with affection, to be educated, to have medical care and to be protected against cruelty and abuse.
As you separate and finalise your divorce and its terms, children should never be used as a bargaining tool to ‘get back at’ your ex.
You need to think about what is best for the child in every situation, not what would be best for you.
Your Rights As A Parent
Parents need to consider that their rights are actually responsibilities.
You have an ongoing responsibility as a parent to care for and protect your child.
You will have this responsibility for your child until they are old enough to make their own way in the world (usually when they reach age 18 or sometimes older).
Family law in Australia has definitions of the key responsibilities that parents have with regard to bringing up their children.
- protecting your child from harm
- providing your child with food, clothing and a place to live
- financially supporting your child
- providing safety, supervision and control
- providing medical care
- providing an education
How To Ensure Your Parental Rights & Responsibilities
If you want to ensure that your rights and responsibilities as a parent are properly recognised, you could consider putting a parenting plan or a getting Parenting Orders made in the Family Court.
Parenting plans are written agreements between both parents which set out mutually agreed parenting arrangements, such as when the children will spend time with each parent, where they will live and arrangements for their ongoing care, welfare and development.
Parenting plans can be drawn up during your divorce mediation if you choose to mediate.
They are not, however, strictly legally enforceable documents.
Parenting Orders, on the other hand, are legally enforceable. They need to be applied for through the Family Court and made or approved by the court.
You can still draw up a parenting plan at your divorce mediation and then take it to the courts through an Application for Consent Orders to get it approved as Parenting Orders.
Both these documents can help to clarify and protect your position as a parent.
Worried about your rights and responsibilities as a parent while going through a separation or divorce?
Speak to us today – choosing divorce mediation over a costly court battle is always a better option.
We can help you move on as quickly and as amicably as possible.
Call Ian on 0418 928 448 or get in touch with us online today.