Family Counselling and Parenting Orders

How Family Counselling can form part of orders and pave the way for increased time with children

Family counselling can be one way of rebuilding the relationship of a child with a parent following separation. If you have separated and your children are living primarily with your former partner, it will be important for your children that you maintain contact with them and do not allow the relationship to flounder.  

There are many factors that a Court will consider when making an order regarding the living and care arrangements for children. The factors are detailed in the Family Law Act 1975  and considered in many cases that come before the family courts. It is those
factors that will guide the Court in making a decision. One of the primary considerations is the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with each parent.  Other considerations include the extent to which each parent has taken or failed to take the opportunity to participate in making decisions for the child, spend time with the child or communicate with the child.

The Court can use various resources to inform itself of the relevant issues in relationships and receive expert opinions on how best to overcome such issues. The Court may hear evidence from Court appointed experts such as family report writers who interview the family including the children and make recommendations to the Court regards the living arrangements for children.   The Court may also make orders for family counselling to assist members of the family and especially children to better cope with the changes in their family life.

If you would like to receive advice concerning what measures are available to assist you and your children following separation or if you would like to obtain a parenting order or child custody order, you are welcome to contact our Brisbane family lawyers or North
Brisbane family lawyers who are ready to assist you. Ph.: 07 3506 3651.You are of course also most welcome to continue reading……

In a recent case before the Federal Circuit Court of Australia at Sydney titled Rees & Darzi [2018] FCCA 3480 Judge Henderson made orders for family counselling. In that case, the Court considered the Father’s decision to relocate overseas and have little to
do with his daughter for 2 years. There was too the Mother’s inability to support a positive ongoing relationship between the child and her Father. The Court considered these factors as significant determining factors in making parentingorders or child custody orders.

In that case,s there was one child of the relationship who was 8 years of age at the time of the hearing. In consideration of various matters including language and intractable differences between the parties an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) had been appointed to represent the child.

The child had been spending time with the Father supervised at a contact centre and was showing a conflicted but generally ambivalent attitude to her relationship with the Father.

The Father, and ICL were seeking Orders for incremental staged increases in the child’s time with the father including unsupervised occasions. The Mother was seeking an Order that all time with the Father be suspended and for the parties to engage in family therapy.

After the parents’ separation, the Father’s time with the child was ad hoc, and he effectively ceased spending time with the child in 2014 which was later compounded by his decision to relocate overseas in 2015. The Judge observed that the father took little effective action in relation to the child and that he needed acknowledge the consequences of his decisions upon his relationship with his child’s mother and his daughter, and seek to show some understanding of the position.

The Judge also observed that after suffering the father’s poor behaviour, that the mother now struggles to support the child’s relationship with him, and particularly unsupervised.

The Judge recommended that the mother seek professional assistance to assist her to understand the negative long-term impact upon her daughter (or any child) who spends no time with a parent who is available, living, and wants to spend time with them, and in this case a girl with her father

He re-stated research that a few possible effects on the child could be loss of self-esteem, depression, idealisation of the absent parent, difficulty forming appropriate relationships with male relations in the future.

After making such observations and recommendation the Judge Ordered that the Father’s time with the child be suspended whilst the parties engaged in therapeutic family counselling.

Contact  us for advice from our Child Custody Lawyers Brisbane, North Brisbane Child Custody Lawyers or Brisbane family lawyers. We can assist you  to resolve any family law issues, whether relating to obtaining an agreement or orders for family counselling, parenting orders, parenting plans and family law property settlement. We offer free initial phone consultations where you can speak with one of our experienced Brisbane child custody lawyers. We are ready to assist you to resolve your family law matter.

Kindly note that this blog contains information only and does not constitute legal advice to you. You will need to obtain specific legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances. Our experienced family lawyers Brisbane CBD, North Brisbane family lawyers and Brisbane child custody lawyers are ready to assist you to resolve your particular family law matter.