Families, particularly the children, are a courts first consideration when resolving or determining family disputes.
At all stages during the pre-action negotiations and during the case itself, should you ultimately apply to a court you must keep in mind.
It is important that all the information is availed to the courts -- information that would support your case or harm it. Courts usually come up with an effective parenting plan that has close resemblance to the situation at the time of going through the divorce. It is therefore important that you come up with your own plan that you can present to the presiding judge. When this is done, the judge will assume immediately that the arrangement you have at that point is working somehow and will use that as a starting point before any other changes in the future. Another assumption is that both parents have already come to an agreement to some degree or have at least agreed on the plan. When things are really bad and there is a total breakdown in communication, the courts are at liberty to give direction.
Minor adjustments can be accommodated if they are not extra-ordinary. If you wish to have any adjustments made on a parenting plan communicate the same via a mediator and often it's a pain and stress free process and everyone will go home glad. This method is the easiest, fastest and most affordable way of getting any change done.
The need to protect and safeguard the interest of your children.
The importance of a continuing relationship between your children and both parents, and the benefits the child gains from the parents co-operating with one another, as far as is possible.
The potential damage to a child involved in a dispute particularly if a child is encouraged to take sides or take part in any dispute between the parents.
The importance of identifying issues early and exploring options for settlement.
The need to avoid protracted, unnecessary, hostile and inflammatory exchanges.
Parties must not:
Use the pre-action procedure for an improper purpose (for example , to harass the other party or to cause unnecessary cost or delay), or
In correspondence, raise irrelevant issues or issues that might cause the other party to adopt an entrenched, polarised or hostile position.
The Family Court (The Court) has the jurisdiction to make parenting order(s) concerning children whether or not the parties are:
In a De Facto relationship, or
Never entered a permanent relationship.
The Family Law Act requires the parties to comply with the pre-action procedure prior to commencing a case. The objectives of such action are:
To encourage early and full disclosure through the exchange of information and documents about the prospective case.
To help people resolve their differences quickly and fairly, and to avoid legal action where possible. This will limit costs and hopefully avoid the need to start a court case.
Where an agreement cannot be reached out of court, to help parties identify the real issue in dispute. This should help reduce the time involved and the cost of a case.
Lawyers must as early as practicable:
Advise clients of ways of resolving the dispute without starting legal action.
Advise clients of their duty to make full and frank disclosure, and of the possible consequences of breaching that duty.
Subject to it being in the best interests of the client and any child, endeavour to reach an agreement rather than start or continue legal action
Notify the client if, in the lawyers opinion, it is in the clients best interest to accept a compromise or settlement where, in the lawyers opinion, the compromise or settlement is a reasonable one.
In cases of unexpected delay, explain the delay to their clients and whether or not the client may assist to resolve the delay.
If your circumstances are or if you think that your case is complex and you need to retain professional services you can always contact us on this site for professional and comprehensive advice or please visit our firms web site for even more details.