Children and family law

The Family Law Act deals with most matters relating to a child's welfare when a relationship ends, whether it’s a marriage, de facto or same sex relationship.

Legislation no longer talks about a parent's rights:  the ultimate consideration is what is in the child’s best interests. Each case is determined on its own facts and circumstances.

Many parents can sort out matters relating to their children between themselves. However, some parents need legal help, or may need to go to court to settle disputes.

Our lawyers have substantial experience in resolving parenting and children’s issues. We can provide you with advice and support on decisions like:

  • who your child should live with
  • what contact your child may have with the other parent, or how living arrangements are shared
  • who has responsibility for making decisions about issues such as which school your child attends
  • in some cases, who actually is a “parent”.

Parenting orders, issued by a court, can deal with these issues and regulate arrangements for children. However, as a parent you are not allowed to start court proceedings until you have tried to reach an agreement with the assistance of a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP), except in special circumstances.

Dimocks lawyer Bernadette Smyth is a registered FDRP and can sensitively and professionally help you settle disputes, and, where possible, avoid the additional stress and costs of going court.

Proceedings for obtaining parenting orders can be commenced in either the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court. The procedure in each court varies, and which court is appropriate for your case will depend on the complexity of the issues in dispute, which court is able to deal with it more quickly in cases of urgency, and which court services your area.

Child support

Child support and maintenance is a complex specialist area, at the centre of which is your child’s wellbeing.

Child support is now administered by the Australian Government Department of Human Services. They make assessments for the amount of child support you should pay or receive, and can help you manage payments.

However, sometimes parents may want to go beyond the assessed child support amount and seek a determination of financial support via the courts. Some couples may prefer to make their own arrangements for child support, and enter into a Child Support Agreement.

Dimocks’ experienced lawyers can help you decide what is most appropriate for you and your child, and achieve a resolution.

Contact us to discuss your children and family law needs.

Dimocks Family Lawyers

Level 1,17 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Postal Address: GPO Box 3255, Sydney NSW 2001

Phone: (02) 9221 8390
Fax: (02) 9221 5282

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