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Residential and care arrangements (formerly custody and access) for children

Putting in place appropriate care and living arrangements for children is one of the most important first steps for parents who have recently separated. If you both intend to remain overseas, you will need specialist advice to document any agreement reached or to assist you in resolving these issues.

Formalising these arrangements is important because your ex-partner's living or employment circumstances can change at any time, and your rights may be compromised if nothing is in place to prevent either party from disregarding an earlier agreement.

If you have recently returned to Australia and intend to reside there, it may be possible to seek consent orders or to issue proceedings under Australian family law, even where the law of another jurisdiction may have applied to your family during your marriage or relationship.

The Australian Family Law Act 1975 principles determine arrangements for children by reference to what is in their best interests. This involves balancing the benefit to children of having a meaningful relationship with both their parents with the need to protect children from physical or psychological harm, including exposure to family violence.

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