Until 2006 Child Custody Australia was very much in favor of the mother. Today, both parents must be treated equally and things started to change. Progress toward equal treatment of women and men is slowly, but each year more fathers are entitled to child custody.
Child Custody is about which of the parents makes the important decisions about the life of the children and about who will take care of them. The internationally accepted principle is that "the child resides in accordance with the best interest of the child".
Getting child custody Australia can be hard. Even if you try to get shared custody, your ex might be against it. So, if you expect difficulties getting custody and you want to arm yourself against it, we recommend you to read this book: Child Custody Strategies. Somewhere in these 1200 pages you will find your strategy. There are separate versions for women and men.
The way how child custody is organized during the divorce process is different from country to country. We explain the situation for Australia below.
The United Nations drew up the "United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child". Today, the Convention on the Rights of the Child have been ratified by more than 193 countries. Important articles for children of divorce are of this convention:
Article 3: The child resides in accordance with the best interest of the child.
Article 9: The child's right not be separated from his or her parents against the child's will.
Article 10: If the parents live in different countries, the child has the right to maintain regular direct contact with both parents. All countries are obliged to cooperate to give the child free access and exit of the country for family reunification purposes.
Since the amendment in the Family Law in 2006, the term Custody is not used any more in the law. Instead the law uses "lives with" and "spends time with". Outside this law, Custody is still very much in use.
The Family Law describes the rules for child custody Australia. The Family Law is in line with the above mentioned "United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child":
1. The rights of children to have a meaningful relationship with both their parents,
to be protected from harm.
2. In principle, the parents should have equal joint custody responsibility, duties and powers.
3. Children should spend their time equally with each parent. Only if this is not in the interests of the child or not practicable a Court might decide otherwise. Week days and weekend days are counted separately.
However, despite this new law update, it is still hard for fathers to get shared parenting. Figures have gone up from 3% to 15% and are still climbing.
Before 2006 fathers were discriminated by the family courts regarding parenting. Those days, the focus was on fighting as hard as possible to get single parenting. The tactics involved digging up all possible information to prove that the other parent was unfit to care for the children.
Today things are changing in the right direction. In order to get joint custody, parents should behave well in every aspect in life. They must be respectfull to each other and willing to cooperate. To get shared parenting, you should put away your emotions - how difficult it might be - and focus on the interest of the children.
And follow the post separation parenting course. There you will not learn to cook, to clean and to change diapers. It focusses on your cooperate with your ex and on how to make shared parenting a succes. By attending this course show your are very motivate to make it work for the benefit of your children.
In 2010 an evaluation report has been published, for which 28.000 people were involved. This report and many newspapers reported negative effects of the 2006 amendments:
1) it is more difficult for women to raise allegations of violence in the Family Court,
2) it is more difficult for women to relocate with their children after divorce.
Articles and investigations about Child Custody Australia report problems resulting from shared parenting. Most were due to violent or abusive fathers.
Investigations also report that where the law had not played any part in defining the shared parenting arrangements, the shared parenting works smoothly.
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