Child Custody in Australia

In Australia, ‘custody’ actually refers to parenting issues involving parties’ children when the parents separate. When making parentings arrangements, Australian family law requires the best interests of the children to be the paramount consideration. For example, it is not the parents’ right to spend time with the children but rather the children’s right to spend time with parents, if it is in their best interests.

Equal Shared Parental Responsibility (ESPR):

When children are spending time with a parent, that parent has the parental responsibility to make day to day decisions for them. This is different from the long terms decisions about the children such as which school they should attend, which medical procedure they should undergo, etc. Generally, the responsibility to make long term decisions about children rests jointly with both parents. The Australian family law presumes that it is in the best interests of the children for both parents to have ESPR. This presumption is rebutted if it is not in the children’s best interests for their parents to have ESPR.

Live With/Spend Time With:

The next most important parenting issue is where the children should live and how much time they should spend with the other parent. The family law in Australia provides that if the presumption of ESPR applies then the courts should consider the children spending equal time with each parent, if that is in their best interests and reasonably practicable. If it is either not in their best interest or reasonably practicable then the court has to consider the children living with one parent and spending substantial and significant time with the other parent.


Taking the next step and contacting a family lawyer can be scary. Our lawyers will make you feel comfortable so you can talk about your situation. But first, ask yourself, Do I really need a lawyer?


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