Hayder Shkara

Hayder Shkara

Barrister and Solicitor

Hayder Shkara is the principal of Melbourne Family Lawyers. He took over the management of the practice from Silvio Auditore in 2022.

Hayder is an ex-Olympic athlete, and has now channeled his energy into the family law space. He brings vast experience in family law, including financial and property settlements, divorce, custody matters, wills and estate, consent orders and binding financial agreements. He is excellent communicator and holds well before a Judge and Magistrate in legal proceedings. He is also great with clients, able to build close connections with them.

Hayder has a double degree from the University of Technology Sydney with a Bachelor of Laws and Communication (Journalism).

Hayder is also the principal of Justice Family Lawyers, a firm he founded after competing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, representing Australia in Taekwondo. Born of an Iraqi father and Japanese mother, family and a strong sense of community have always been central to the Shkara household.

He is committed to MelbourneFamily Lawyers and the team, overlooking all the matters and providing detailed support to his staff and clients. He values hard work and dedication, as an athlete, and will provide endless guidance to his team and clients.

When Hayder isn’t demonstrating his dedication to the firm, he is playing soccer with friends or coaching sports on the weekends.

Hayder Shkara
OUR FAMILY LAWYERS
Alison Loach

Alison Loach

Senior Associate

Giuseppe Rubino

Giuseppe Rubino

Senior Associate

Stephanie Hope

STEPHANIE HOPE

Senior Associate

Related Articles & Cases

same sex adoption victoria | Melbourne Family Lawyers

Same Sex Adoption Victoria

Adoption is a life-changing experience for both the child and the adoptive parents.

In Victoria, Australia, the adoption landscape has evolved to include same-sex couples, thanks to legislative changes.

Read this comprehensive guide on same-sex adoption Victoria, touching on the legal framework, eligibility criteria, and societal perspectives.

The Current State of Same-Sex Adoption in Victoria

According to a recent article, fewer than five same-sex couples have been approved for adoption in Victoria since 2017.

This low number raises questions about the effectiveness of the legal changes and whether they have translated into real-world impact.

Key Takeaway: Despite legal advancements, the number of same-sex adoptions in Victoria remains surprisingly low.

Legal Framework

Victorian Legislation

The primary laws governing adoption in Victoria are the Adoption Act 1984 and the Adoption Regulations 2019.

These laws underwent significant changes with the introduction of the Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Act 2015, enacted on 1 September 2016.

This amendment allows lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTIQ+) couples to apply for adoption in Victoria.

Key Takeaway: The legal framework has been amended to include LGBTIQ+ couples, but awareness and implementation are still catching up.

Commonwealth Legislation

The provision of adoption services is also affected by Commonwealth legislation.

This adds another layer of complexity to the adoption process, making it essential for prospective parents to be well-informed.

Key Takeaway: Federal laws also play a role, so it’s more than Victorian legislation that prospective parents need to consider.

Eligibility and Application Process

According to the Victoria State Government, the eligibility criteria to adopt a child in Victoria include age, residency status, and suitability to adopt.

The application process involves several steps, such as attending information sessions, undergoing assessments, and participating in interviews.

Key Takeaway: The eligibility criteria and application process are comprehensive, requiring a significant commitment from prospective parents.

Societal Perspectives and Challenges

The Wikipedia page on LGBT adoption and parenting in Australia highlights that societal attitudes towards same-sex parenting are generally positive.

However, the low number of approved adoptions suggests that systemic barriers or prejudices may still be at play.

Key Takeaway: While society is generally accepting, systemic issues may still hinder same-sex couples’ adoption process.

How We Can Provide Assistance

The clients approached our law firm seeking guidance on the legalities involved in adoption.

Our first step was to provide them with an in-depth consultation, outlining the Victorian and Commonwealth laws that would impact their adoption process.

We highlighted the Adoption Act 1984 and the Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Act 2015, explaining how these laws had evolved to include LGBTIQ+ couples.

We also guided them through the eligibility criteria, which included age, residency, and suitability assessments.

To streamline the process, we assisted in gathering all necessary documentation and preparing them for interviews and assessments.

We even liaised with adoption agencies on their behalf to ensure a smooth application process.

Consult With Experienced Family Lawyers

Same sex adoption Victoria has come a long way, legally speaking. However, the low number of approved adoptions indicates that there’s still much work to be done.

This is where the importance of seeking legal advice must be addressed.

Consulting with a firm experienced in family law and adoption procedures can provide invaluable insights into the legal framework, eligibility criteria, and societal perspectives.

Not only does this equip prospective parents with the knowledge they need, but it also helps them anticipate and navigate potential roadblocks in the adoption process.

In a landscape that’s still evolving, having a legal ally can make all the difference in successfully expanding your family.

Key Takeaway: Knowledge is power. Equip yourself with the correct information to make your adoption journey as smooth as possible.

duty of disclosure | Melbourne Family Lawyers

Duty of Disclosure in Family Law: 4 Consequences of Failing to Comply With the Duty of Disclosure

Family law in Australia is designed to protect the interests of all parties involved in a dispute, notably regarding property settlement, financial matters, and parenting arrangements.

The duty of disclosure is central to ensuring a fair and just resolution, which requires each party to provide complete and accurate information about their financial circumstances.

Let’s take a look at the duty of disclosure in family law matters, its implications, and the consequences of failing to fulfil this obligation.

What Is the Duty of Disclosure?

The duty of disclosure is a fundamental principle in family law proceedings in Australia.

It is based on the premise that both parties must be fully informed of each other’s financial circumstances to make informed decisions and reach a fair and equitable resolution.

This disclosure extends to all aspects of a party’s financial situation, including income, assets, liabilities, expenses, and superannuation.

The Family Law Act 1975 and the Family Law Rules and Regulations impose a legal obligation on parties to provide full and frank disclosure. This duty is ongoing and commences from the outset of proceedings and continues until the finalisation of the matter.

What Is Full and Frank Disclosure?

Full and frank disclosure is the legal requirement for parties, particularly in insurance contracts, to provide complete, honest, and relevant information without withholding any material facts that could influence the contract’s terms or decisions.

Financial Disclosure Obligations

Parties involved in family law proceedings must provide financial disclosure in a prescribed and organised manner. This involves disclosing:

1. Financial Statements: Comprehensive financial statements must be prepared, outlining all income, assets, liabilities, and expenses. These statements should cover the last three years.

2. Bank Statements: Parties must provide bank statements for all accounts, including savings, transactional, and investment accounts.

3. Tax Returns: Both current and previous tax returns must be disclosed, along with supporting documents such as group certificates.

4. Property and Valuations: Detailed information about all real estate properties, businesses, investments, and valuations should be provided.

5. Superannuation: Full disclosure of superannuation account details and balances is mandatory.

Consequences of Non-Disclosure:

Failing to comply with the duty of disclosure can have serious consequences. The court takes non-disclosure very seriously, as it can hinder the proper administration of justice and lead to unfair outcomes. Some potential consequences of non-disclosure include:

1. Cost Orders: The non-disclosing party may be ordered to pay the other party’s legal costs resulting from the non-disclosure.

2. Contempt of Court: In extreme cases of intentional non-disclosure or dishonesty, the court may find a party in contempt, leading to penalties or imprisonment.

3. Varying Orders: The court may vary previous orders or agreements if the non-disclosure is discovered later.

Importance of Legal Advice

Given the complexity and significance of the duty of disclosure, seeking legal advice is crucial for both parties involved in family law matters.

Family lawyers can guide the scope of disclosure, assist in preparing accurate financial statements, and ensure compliance with the duty.

How We Can Assist in Duty of Disclosure

We received a call from Richard, who had recently gone through a challenging divorce. Seeking guidance on his obligations during the process, he inquired about the duty of disclosure.

During our first meeting, we empathetically listened to Richard’s concerns and gathered detailed information about his financial situation, assets, and liabilities.

We explained the duty of disclosure, stressing the importance of complete and accurate disclosure during family law proceedings.

With Richard’s consent, we carefully reviewed his financial records, including tax returns, bank statements, property valuations, and superannuation accounts.

To ensure Richard’s compliance with his duty of disclosure, we assisted him in preparing comprehensive financial statements that covered the required three-year period.

We organised the documents, leaving no room for error.

With our help and Richard’s willingness to cooperate, he fulfilled his duty of diligence during the divorce proceedings.

The duty of disclosure in family law matters is essential to uphold the principles of fairness, transparency, and justice.

Complying with this obligation ensures that all parties are fully aware of the financial circumstances of the other, enabling informed decisions and equitable resolutions.

Failing to disclose relevant financial information can have severe consequences, and individuals must seek legal advice and act in good faith to fulfil their duty of disclosure under Australian laws.

Can You File for Custody Without a Lawyer | Melbourne Family Lawyers

Fighting for child custody can be incredibly difficult, which is why some people refer to it as a “child custody battle.”

While it’s typically done with legal advisers, some people prefer to go through it alone.

But can you file for custody without a lawyer? Indeed, it is doable. For various reasons, including financial viability, some parents opt to do this independently.

Although it’s feasible, it’s important to understand that fighting for child custody has advantages and disadvantages.

And it’s best to be aware of them before taking action.

Reasons for Filing for Custody Without a Lawyer

One of the most prevalent reasons why some parents choose to go through child custody proceedings without the assistance of a lawyer is a lack of financial resources.

While it is true that hiring a child custody lawyer can cost between $300 and $600 per hour, there are alternative options available to you if you are concerned about the possible expenses.

To find out your choices for getting legal aid, you can simply call the Legal Aid office and ask.

You can also browse for options for payment plans that best suit your circumstances.

Alternatively, you won’t need to argue for custody or hire a lawyer if you and your ex-partner can come to a mutually agreeable arrangement that is also in the best interests of the child.

Also read: Can You Withdraw from a Child Custody Case?

Challenges of Filing for Custody Without a Lawyer

You should be prepared for significant obstacles if you choose to represent yourself in court. The following are some of the challenges you might run into:

  • Time-consuming: Filing the paperwork might be difficult if you are unfamiliar with it, and learning the procedure can consume some time. You might need to take a break from your job or other obligations.
  • Plenty of room for error: Despite your best efforts, there is always the potential that you will make a mistake. And there may be a price for these errors. Losing custody of or time with your child is one of them.
  • Opportunities lost. There’s also the potential that you’ll miss out on certain chances or tactics that could help your case. When you don’t know where to look, it’s easy to miss out.

Benefits of Filing for Custody With a Lawyer

As was already discussed, making a mistake could cost you precious time with your child. Because you’ll be less likely to make mistakes, hiring a child custody lawyer will potentially cost less.

A lawyer can help you with the following tasks:

  • Timely and accurate filing of documentation: If you want to do the paperwork yourself, it’s possible to find it time-consuming and overwhelming. An enormous burden can be lifted from the procedure by hiring a lawyer to handle it for you.
  • Formulating a plan for the best course of action: Even though every situation is unique, you can still draw best practices from each one. Lawyers can aid you in this situation because of their expertise in this field. Your chances of obtaining custody will improve if a professional plans your case.
  • Gathering evidence and presenting it in a way that supports your position: A good piece of evidence may not always be perceived by the judge in the same way that you do. Yet, a lawyer can decide whether or not a piece of evidence is admissible. Similar to character witnesses, offering unreliable evidence could do more harm than good.
  • Briefing and preparing you for the judge’s challenging questions. There will be difficult questions to answer, and if you are weak of heart without someone to prepare you for them, you might fumble and damage the case. In these situations, a lawyer can assist you in anticipating these challenging inquiries and preparing you on how to competently respond to them.

When Is Getting a Lawyer Not Optional?

While it is feasible to file for custody on your own, there are some circumstances where hiring a lawyer is essential.

These situations include, but not be limited to:

  • Abuse: You should hire a lawyer if you or your child experiences abuse to ensure your protection.
  • Power imbalance: If you feel like you are mentally not up to the task of facing your partner and their legal team.
  • There is an ongoing legal dispute concurrently: You may have a separate matter in the Magistrates court that also requires representation.

Process of Filing for Custody Without a Lawyer

  1. Evaluate: It’s crucial to think about and confirm that you want to proceed along this path without legal representation. Remember that filing for custody without a lawyer involves substantial planning and investigation. It can take a lot of time and energy to learn the procedure. Think about whether you’ll have the time and resources necessary to complete these jobs. As your child’s custody is at risk, such a matter should not be taken lightly.
  2. Research: Do your research and familiarise yourself with the process, including any applicable regulations, before filling out any documents. Ensure the validity of your sources. You should also be aware of the documentation that must be prepared and submitted.
  3. Complete the forms: Make sure the form is filled out and error-free. Verify that you have not overlooked any details to avoid delay or additional work.
  4. File the forms: You can file the paperwork electronically via the Commonwealth Courts Portal. However, you also have the option to physically file the form at the registry.
  5. Be prepared for the next steps: Filling out the forms is merely the beginning of the process. It is advisable to plan out the following actions before going to mediation or court hearings. Act courteously and according to established protocol throughout the entire process.

File for Custody Without a Lawyer Online

You can file for custody online through the Commonwealth Courts Portal, however, there are a few things to think about before submitting your application electronically.

Before filing for custody, it is important to understand what it will mean to you and your child.

To have parental responsibility means that you legally have the right to make decisions about the child.

If the parents cannot come up with an arrangement for the child, either parent may request the Court’s assistance for a decision regarding the child’s overall well-being.

When a decision is made, the Court will issue a parenting order. Each person who is subject to a parenting order must abide by it.

How Can You File for Custody Online?

Before filling out the forms, there are a few steps worth taking to make the process as orderly as possible.

Seek legal advice

Child custody is a situation in which you should arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. And it is always prudent to consult a child custody lawyer before taking action. You will have a thorough understanding of your rights and responsibilities after consulting an expert. In addition, knowing how the law applies to your case is of great assistance.

Negotiate with the other parent

It is still recommended, if possible, to mediate with the other party and reach an amicable resolution. With the well-being of the child in mind, each parent can present specific options and see if the other can agree or at least compromise. However, if the parties are unable to agree on child custody, you may proceed to the next step.

Understanding the law

A lawyer can assist you in understanding the law, particularly the provisions that pertain to your case. You can strengthen your understanding by asking your attorney for credible resources where you can conduct additional research and immerse yourself in the laws surrounding your situation.

Also read: Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody and Religion

Filling Out the forms

After seeking legal advice and having a good grasp of the applicable laws, you can now file for custody online. You can find the form here and complete it. Take time to make sure that this is accurately done to avoid delays and issues.

Electronically Filing the Form

After completion, you can submit the form electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal. There is also a live chat feature on the website to assist you with any questions or concerns regarding the electronic filing of the form. You will then be informed of the following steps.

After filing online for custody, additional steps will be taken to ensure that the child receives proper care and upbringing. These include serving a copy of the application to the other parent and attending court hearings. You can anticipate these steps and devise suitable strategies to strengthen your case and obtain custody.

Also read: Key Factors to Consider in Custody for Children Under 2

Alternatively, if you and the other party reach an acceptable agreement, you can formalise and make it binding by requesting consent orders.

To answer the question, can you file for custody without a lawyer? Yes, you can but that does not mean that you should.

You should maintain your composure and remember that you are acting in your child’s best interests, no matter how challenging the situation becomes.

If you change your mind and decide it’s time to hire a lawyer, that’s perfectly acceptable; there’s no reason to feel uncomfortable about it.

will i lose custody if i fail a drug test | Melbourne Family Lawyers

Will I Lose Custody If I Fail a Drug Test?

Failing a drug test during custody proceedings does not automatically result in losing custody of your child, but it can significantly impact the court’s decision.

The Family Court‘s primary concern is the child’s welfare and best interests. Thus, any evidence of drug use can weigh heavily in decisions about parenting arrangements.

However, the court also considers factors such as the frequency of drug use, the type of substance, and any steps taken towards rehabilitation.

Understanding the Impact of a Failed Drug Test

1. How Courts View Drug Use

In Australian Family Law, the safety and well-being of children are paramount. If a parent fails a drug test, the court will scrutinise the potential risk posed to the child.

This includes assessing the nature of the drug use (whether it’s occasional or habitual) and its impact on the parent’s ability to care for the child.

2. Drug Testing in Family Law Cases

Drug testing can be ordered by the court if there are allegations of substance abuse. Depending on the case’s specifics, these tests might be conducted randomly and can include urine, hair follicle, or blood tests.

🔑 Key Takeaway: A failed drug test does not automatically result in losing custody but raises serious concerns about child welfare that the court must address.

Factors Influencing Custody Decisions

1. Severity and Frequency of Drug Use

The court will consider how often and how severely a parent has been using drugs. For example, occasional marijuana use is viewed differently than regular use of harder substances like heroin or methamphetamine.

2. Parent’s Response to Drug Use Issues

A parent’s willingness to acknowledge their drug use and engage in rehabilitation efforts can impact the court’s decision. Demonstrating a commitment to recovery can positively influence custody and visitation arrangements.

🔑 Key Takeaway: The court assesses the severity of the drug use and the parent’s efforts to address the issue when making custody decisions.

Rehabilitation and Its Role in Custody Outcomes

Seeking Help for Substance Abuse

Proactively seeking help for drug addiction, such as enrolling in rehabilitation programs or attending counselling, can be beneficial. The court often views these efforts favorably when determining parenting arrangements.

Monitoring and Supervised Visitation

If there is concern about a parent’s substance use, the court may order supervised visitation to ensure the child’s safety while maintaining the parent-child relationship. The situation may be re-evaluated as the parent progresses in recovery.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Rehabilitation efforts are crucial and can mitigate the negative effects of a failed drug test on custody decisions.

Failing a Drug Test and Custody Implications: Will I Lose Custody If I Fail a Drug Test?

While failing a drug test can pose challenges to securing custody, it does not necessarily mean you will lose custody. The Australian Family Court takes a comprehensive view of each case, focusing on the child’s best interests.

Demonstrating responsibility and a commitment to overcoming substance issues can influence the court positively.

It is vital for parents facing these challenges to seek appropriate legal advice and support to navigate the complexities of family law and protect their relationship with their children.

🔑 Overall Key Takeaway: Failing a drug test during custody proceedings is a serious issue, but it is not definitive in losing custody. The Family Court prioritises the child’s best interests, evaluating the context and extent of drug use, the parent’s efforts toward rehabilitation, and the overall impact on child welfare.

Demonstrating a proactive approach to treatment and recovery and legal support can significantly influence the outcome in favor of maintaining a healthy relationship with your child.

de facto tax benefits australia | Melbourne Family Lawyers

The short answer is yes; however, these advantages are not automatically conferred and require a nuanced understanding of relevant legislation.

Understanding how a de facto relationship impacts your tax situation can open doors to various financial benefits.

Key Takeaway: Yes, there are tax benefits for de facto couples in Australia, but you must understand the rules to take full advantage of them.

Income Splitting: A Win-Win

Income splitting can be a handy strategy for couples.

By transferring income-generating assets to a partner with a lower income, you can reduce your overall tax liability.

However, it would help if you ensured that the asset transfer aligns with the laws to avoid falling into the “deemed dividend” trap.

Key Takeaway: Income splitting allows you to legally redistribute income within the couple to reduce overall tax liability.

Also read: What Happens When a De Facto Partner Dies?

Medicare Levy Surcharge

Your combined family income, not just your individual income, will determine whether or not you have to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

The surcharge kicks in if your household income exceeds a particular threshold, currently $180,000 for families.

This incentivises you to look into private health coverage to avoid the surcharge.

Key Takeaway: Consider private health insurance to avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge, which is calculated based on your combined family income.

Spousal Tax Offset

Highlighted by the ATO, there’s a potential tax offset when supporting a partner who earns less than a certain amount.

Although the spousal tax offset is less common these days due to dual-income households, it’s still a feature worth noting.

Key Takeaway: The spousal tax offset can help you lower your tax liability if you’re supporting a partner who earns less.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Implications

Another financial benefit of being in a de facto relationship concerns capital gains tax.

If you transfer an asset like property, to your partner, you may be exempt from CGT if your partner uses the asset as their primary residence.

But tread carefully; this isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy and might not apply to all assets or situations.

Key Takeaway: Asset transfers like property could be exempt from Capital Gains Tax, but conditions apply.

First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme

If you and your partner want to buy your first home, the FHSS Scheme can be a helpful tool.

Each of you can contribute up to $30,000 to your super and later withdraw it for a first home deposit while enjoying the tax benefits of super contributions.

Key Takeaway: The First Home Super Saver Scheme allows you to use your superannuation to help purchase your first home, complete with tax perks.

Important Tips and Considerations

  • Documentation: Keep all financial documents, like bank statements, which can provide evidence of a de facto relationship.
  • Legal Advice: Legal advice is highly recommended for complex matters like asset splitting or estate planning.
  • Consult the ATO: When in doubt, the ATO’s official guidelines should be your go-to resource.

Key Takeaway: Proper documentation and professional advice are essential for navigating the complexities of tax benefits in de facto relationships.

Providing Assistance To Our Clients

We recently had the opportunity to assist a client who is currently expecting a child, is in a de facto relationship with the father, and was understandably curious about how this would impact their taxation situation.

Our firm reviewed the Australian tax laws to provide her with comprehensive advice. We explained that the combined income of de facto partners is assessed for the Medicare Levy Surcharge, influencing whether they’d need to pay extra on top of the standard 2% Medicare Levy.

We also introduced the concept of income splitting, an advantageous strategy to redistribute income-generating assets and potentially lower the couple’s overall tax liability.

Additionally, we touched on the Spousal Tax Offset, which could be beneficial if one partner earns significantly less. Finally, we assisted her in understanding how parental leave pay would be taxed.

Consult with Professionals 

Being in a de facto relationship in Australia comes with a series of tax implications and benefits.

Whether it’s income splitting, capital gains tax, or even first home buying, there are various ways to optimise your financial situation.

Always remember, the devil is in the details when it comes to taxes.

So, consult with professionals and follow ATO guidelines to get the most out of your de facto relationship.

Key Takeaway: Understanding the tax implications and opportunities in a de facto relationship can yield substantial financial benefits. Knowledge and professional advice are your best assets.

what makes a parent unfit for custody | Melbourne Family Lawyers

Child custody cases are delicate matters that require careful consideration to ensure the well-being and safety of the child involved.

In Australia, family law emphasises the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration when determining custody arrangements.

In situations where a parent is deemed unfit to have custody, specific criteria are taken into account.

This article written by our child custody lawyers highlights what makes a parent unfit for custody and the legal framework and considerations that influence custody decisions.

The Best Interests of the Child

Before diving into what makes a parent unfit for custody, it is better to understand first the primary consideration in determining custody. The primary principle guiding custody decisions is the best interests of the child.

This approach emphasises the child’s safety, welfare, and development as the top priority. When evaluating a parent’s fitness for custody, the court considers factors such as the child’s emotional and physical needs, their relationship with each parent, and any potential risks or harm that may arise.

Unfit Parent Examples

Determining parental fitness is crucial in child custody cases. When considering the best interests of the child, certain factors may render a parent unfit for custody.

What makes a parent unfit for custody? This section explores the key elements that can contribute to a parent being deemed unfit. These elements include:

  • Abuse or Neglect: A parent may be deemed unfit for custody if there is evidence of abuse or neglect towards the child. Australian law strongly condemns any form of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect that puts the child’s well-being at risk. The court carefully assesses any allegations, considering the impact on the child’s safety and welfare.
  • Substance Abuse: Substance abuse, including drug or alcohol addiction, can significantly impact a parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child. If a parent’s substance abuse interferes with their ability to meet the child’s needs or exposes the child to potential harm, the court may consider it as a factor when determining custody arrangements. Rehabilitation efforts and commitment to maintaining sobriety can influence the court’s decision.
  • Mental Health Issues: Mental health problems may not automatically make a parent unfit for custody, but they can be taken into account if they make it hard for the parent to care for the child well. The court evaluates the impact of mental health issues on the parent’s parenting capacity, including their ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment.
  • Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is taken extremely seriously by Australian family courts. If a parent has a history of domestic violence, it may indicate a risk to the child’s well-being. The court will assess the impact of such violence on the child and the ability of the abusive parent to provide a safe environment. Protective orders or other measures may be put in place to ensure the child’s safety.
  • Parental Alienation: Parental alienation refers to attempts by one parent to manipulate or negatively influence the child’s relationship with the other parent. While the concept itself is complex, Australian courts are attentive to any behaviours that undermine the child’s relationship with either parent. Alienation tactics can be considered when assessing the suitability of a parent for custody.
  • Failure to Comply with Court Orders. Parents are expected to comply with court orders regarding custody and visitation arrangements. If a parent consistently fails to adhere to the court’s orders or disregards the child’s best interests, it can be grounds for losing custody. The court expects parents to act in the child’s best interests and prioritise their well-being above personal conflicts or disputes.

How To Prove Unfit Parents

Proving that a parent is unfit in a family law context requires a comprehensive collection of evidence demonstrating the parent’s inability to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child. Here are some key types of evidence to consider:

  1. Police Reports and Legal Documents: These are critical in cases involving a history of abuse or violence. They provide official records of any incidents that have occurred, including domestic violence, child abuse, or any criminal activities. Legal documents such as restraining orders or previous court findings can also be significant.
  2. Medical Records and Testimonies: In cases where substance abuse or mental health issues are a concern, medical records can be pivotal. These might include records of treatment for substance abuse, psychiatric evaluations, or hospitalisation records. Testimonies from treating physicians, psychiatrists, or counselors can provide insights into the parent’s health status and its impact on their parenting ability.
  3. Witness Statements: Family members, educators, neighbors, or healthcare professionals who have observed the parent’s interactions with the child can be valuable. These witnesses can provide firsthand accounts of the parent’s behavior, parenting style, and the child’s response to their care.
  4. Documentation of the Child’s Living Conditions includes photographs or videos of the home environment, which can demonstrate unsafe or unsanitary living conditions. Reports from child welfare inspections or social services can also be included to highlight concerns about the child’s living situation.
  5. Evidence of Neglect or Failure to Provide Basic Needs: This can be shown through school records indicating frequent absences or reports of hunger, medical records showing a lack of routine healthcare, or social services reports detailing instances of neglect. Documentation of the child’s physical appearance, such as signs of malnutrition or unattended health issues, can also support claims of negligence.

Collecting this evidence requires a systematic approach and often the assistance of legal professionals. It’s essential to ensure that all evidence is obtained legally and ethically to be admissible in court. The goal is to build a comprehensive case that demonstrates the parent’s inability to provide a safe, stable, and nurturing environment for the child, thereby justifying the need for intervention by the court.

What We Can Do To Help

We recently helped Lauren in a custody case against an unfit parent. Concerned for her child’s safety, Lauren sought our assistance, and we swiftly formulated a strong legal strategy.

Through a thorough investigation, we compiled compelling evidence of abuse, neglect, and substance abuse by the unfit parent. Guiding Lauren through Australian family law intricacies, we emphasised the risks to the child’s well-being.

Providing unwavering support, we fought tirelessly to secure a custody arrangement prioritising the child’s safety. The court acknowledged the unfit parent’s inability to provide a suitable environment, granting Lauren sole custody with visitation rights.

Lauren expressed deep gratitude for our representation. This successful outcome showcases our dedication to our clients and commitment to upholding Australian family law principles.

We remain resolute in our mission to protect children’s well-being, ensuring they thrive in nurturing environments.

The Child’s Welfare Remains the Primary Concern: What Makes a Parent Unfit for Custody

When determining custody arrangements in Australia, the best interests of the child remain the primary concern.

However, each case is unique, and the court evaluates the specific circumstances before making a decision.

It is crucial to seek professional legal advice when dealing with child custody matters to ensure the best possible outcome for the child involved.