De Facto Family Parenting Arrangements: 6 Important Factors

de facto family | Melbourne Family Lawyers

A de facto family in Australia refers to a domestic arrangement where two individuals live together in a relationship akin to marriage but are not legally married.

This type of de facto relationship is characterised by a genuine domestic basis, where partners share a life, often including financial interdependence, joint ownership of property, and mutual commitment to a shared future.

A de facto family can include those with or without children. In the eyes of Australian law, these relationships are recognised and afforded many of the same legal rights and responsibilities as married couples, particularly in areas such as property settlement, financial support, and parenting arrangements following separation.

The recognition of a de facto family reflects the evolving nature of relationships and family structures in contemporary society.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Understanding whether your relationship qualifies as de facto is crucial for legal matters, especially when children are involved.

How Will Parenting Arrangements Be Determined?

In case of separation within a de facto family, determining parenting arrangements becomes crucial and often complex.

This situation calls for careful consideration of various factors to prioritise the best interests of the children involved.

Australian family law provides a framework for these decisions, treating children from de facto relationships on par with those from married couples.

The focus is on creating a stable and nurturing environment for the children despite their parents’ relationship changes.

The Child’s Best Interests

The cornerstone of any decision regarding parenting arrangements is the child’s best interests. This principle is paramount and guides the court in all its deliberations.

Factors considered include the child’s emotional, psychological, and educational needs, the benefit of having a meaningful relationship with both parents and the need to protect the child from harm or abuse.

Nature of the Relationship with Each Parent

The court examines the nature and quality of the child’s relationship with each parent. This includes understanding each parent’s roles in the child’s life, the level of emotional support provided, and the overall involvement in day-to-day activities and upbringing.

Practicality of Proposed Arrangements

Practical considerations are also crucial. These include the distance between the parents’ homes, the parents’ work schedules, the child’s school and extracurricular activities, and the ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs.

The court aims to encourage a practical and sustainable arrangement that minimises disruption to the child’s life.

Views of the Child

The views and preferences of the child may be considered depending on the child’s age and maturity. The court takes measures to ensure that these views are expressed freely and not influenced by either parent.

Family Violence and Safety Concerns

If there are issues of family violence or safety concerns, these are given significant weight. The court prioritises the safety and well-being of the child and may implement arrangements that protect them from exposure to harm or abuse.

Consistency and Stability

The court also considers the importance of consistency and stability in the child’s life. This includes maintaining established routines, schooling, and social connections, which are vital for the child’s development.

🔑 Key Takeaway: In determining parenting arrangements, the court takes a holistic approach, considering the child’s best interests, the practicality of arrangements, the nature of parental relationships, and the child’s own views, all while ensuring the child’s safety and stability. The goal is to create an environment where the child can thrive, irrespective of the parents’ relationship status.

Seek Legal Counsel

Understanding the legalities of de facto relationships in Australia, particularly concerning children, is essential for navigating a de facto separation.

The law aims to protect the interests of all parties, especially the children involved. If you’re in a de facto relationship and considering separation, it’s advisable to seek legal counsel to better understand your rights and responsibilities.

Director of Melbourne Family Lawyers, Hayder manages the practice and oversees the running of all of the files in the practice. Hayder has an astute eye for case strategy and running particularly complex matters in the family law system.

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  1. Pingback: How to Protect Your Assets in a De Facto Relationship?

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