Family Law
Family seeking legal help
July 1, 2024

Whether you’re going through a divorce, seeking custody arrangements, or dealing with adoption proceedings, the decisions made can have a profound impact on the lives of everyone involved, especially the children. 

That’s why it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of the legal framework surrounding children and family law in Australia.

In this blog, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of this and provide you with practical advice to help you navigate the legal side of things with confidence and clarity.

Divorce in Australia

Divorce is never an easy decision, and when children are involved, the process becomes even more intricate. In Australia, the legal process for obtaining a divorce is governed by the Family Law Act 1975

To be eligible for divorce, you must have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months, and there must be evidence that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
Want to know how to file for divorce in Australia? Read this blog for further details.

Child Custody and Access

Sad child after parents divorce

One of the most contentious aspects of divorce or separation involves child custody and access arrangements. The Family Court of Australia determines custody and access arrangements based on the best interests of the child. 

Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues in family law. When parents separate or divorce, they must determine how to allocate parental responsibilities and parenting time. There are two main types of child custody:

  • Legal Custody: This refers to the right to make important decisions concerning the child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religion. Legal custody can be joint (shared by both parents) or sole (granted to one parent).
  • Physical Custody: This determines with which parent the child will primarily reside. Like legal custody, physical custody can be joint (shared between parents) or sole (granted to one parent).

In determining child custody arrangements, courts generally consider the “best interests of the child” standard. This involves evaluating various factors, including the child’s age, emotional ties with each parent, the parents’ ability to provide a stable environment, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.

Child Support

Child support is a legal obligation for parents to provide financial support for their children. The primary goal of child support is to ensure that children receive adequate financial resources from both parents, regardless of the living situation.

Child support calculations vary from state to state but typically consider factors such as each parent’s income, the child’s needs (e.g., healthcare, education, and childcare expenses), and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Courts may also consider other factors, such as the parents’ debts and assets, to ensure fairness in the support order.

Failure to pay court-ordered child support can result in serious consequences, including wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and even criminal charges in some cases.


Adoption is a legal process that creates a permanent parent-child relationship between individuals who are not biologically related. There are several types of adoption, each with its own set of legal requirements and procedures:

  • Public Agency Adoption: This involves adopting a child from a state or local adoption agency that has taken custody of the child due to abandonment, abuse, or neglect.
  • Private Agency Adoption: This type of adoption is facilitated by a licensed private adoption agency, which matches prospective adoptive parents with birth parents or children available for adoption.
  • Independent Adoption: In some states, birth parents can directly place their child with prospective adoptive parents without the involvement of an agency.
  • Stepparent Adoption: This allows a stepparent to legally adopt their spouse’s child, typically after the termination of the other biological parent’s rights.
  • Relative Adoption: This process allows relatives (such as grandparents, aunts, or uncles) to adopt a child within their family.

Regardless of the type of adoption, the legal process typically involves background checks, home studies, and court appearances to ensure the adoption is in the child’s best interests.

Are you looking for family lawyers near Greensborough, South Morang, or Broadmeadows? Naardi Lawyers provide compassionate support, guiding our clients through the legal process with empathy and understanding. Get in touch to schedule a consultation with us.


Paternity is the legal establishment of a father-child relationship, which carries with it certain rights and responsibilities. Paternity can be established in several ways:

  • Marriage Presumption: If a child is born during a marriage or within a certain period after the marriage ends, the husband is presumed to be the legal father.
  • Voluntary Acknowledgment: Both parents can sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, typically at the time of birth.
  • Court Order: If paternity is disputed, either parent can initiate a legal action to establish paternity through genetic testing (e.g., DNA test).

Establishing paternity is crucial for various reasons, including the child’s right to receive financial support, inheritance rights, access to the father’s medical history, and the father’s right to seek custody or visitation.


Guardianship is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints an individual (the guardian) to make decisions on behalf of a minor child or an incapacitated adult (the ward). There are two main types of guardianship:

  • Guardianship of the Person: This grants the guardian authority to make decisions regarding the ward’s personal care, including healthcare, education, and living arrangements.
  • Guardianship of the Estate: This gives the guardian control over the ward’s financial affairs, such as managing assets, paying bills, and making investment decisions.

Guardianship may be necessary in situations where a child’s parents are deceased, incapacitated, or unable to provide proper care. It can also be sought for adults who have become incapacitated due to age, illness, or disability.


Emancipation is the legal process by which a minor child becomes free from the care, custody, and control of their parents or legal guardians before reaching the age of majority. In most states, emancipation occurs automatically when a child reaches the age of 18 or gets married.

However, in certain circumstances, a minor may seek to become emancipated earlier through a court process. Common reasons for seeking early emancipation include:

  • Desire for independence and self-sufficiency
  • Abuse or neglect by parents or guardians
  • Joining the military
  • Entering into a valid marriage

Emancipated minors are legally responsible for their own care, financial support, and decision-making, similar to adults. However, the process and requirements for emancipation vary significantly across different states.

Parental Relocation

In some cases, one parent may wish to relocate with the child(ren) to another city, state, or country. Parental relocation can have significant implications for the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent, as well as their education, extracurricular activities, and overall well-being.

Most states have specific laws or guidelines governing parental relocation, which often require the relocating parent to provide notice to the other parent and obtain court approval. The court will consider various factors, such as the reason for the relocation, the impact on the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent, and the child’s best interests.

Domestic Violence and Child Protection

Domestic violence can have severe consequences for children, both directly and indirectly. Family law recognises the importance of protecting children from exposure to domestic violence and ensuring their safety and well-being.

In cases involving domestic violence, courts may issue protective orders or restraining orders to prevent further abuse and establish safe custody and visitation arrangements. Additionally, state child welfare agencies may intervene to investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect and take appropriate action to protect the child.

Indigenous Children and Cultural Considerations

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, cultural considerations play a significant role in family law matters. The Family Law Act 1975 requires the court to consider the child’s right to enjoy their cultural heritage and maintain connections with their Indigenous community.

In cases involving the potential removal of an Indigenous child, the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle must be applied. This principle aims to preserve the child’s cultural identity and connections by prioritising placement with the child’s extended family, Indigenous community, or other Indigenous carers.

Looking for Compassionate Family Lawyers in Melbourne?

Navigating the complexities of family law, whether it’s divorce, child custody, or adoption, can be challenging and emotionally draining. Having an experienced family lawyer by your side is essential for the best outcome for you and your children.

If you’re looking for family lawyers in Melbourne who specialise in consent orders, financial agreements, domestic violence, or mediation services, Naardi Lawyers can help. We offer the expertise, experience, and compassionate support needed to help parents create effective parenting agreements that prioritise the well-being of their children. Contact us today to get started.


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