The rights of parents in the ADF or Australian Defence Force are the same as non-defence parents.
However, because of their service and the complexity of their job, ADF parents are afforded additional rights.
Often, members of the military and their partners or families have to repeatedly relocate or spend a lot of time apart. Furthermore, relationship breakdowns of families with members in the military bring about unique and delicate cases, so they are often given additional consideration and concessions.
In this blog, we’ll cover these considerations and concessions.
Rights of parents in the ADF and relocations decisions about work
Parents in the military are often deployed to different locations to work and the courts take that into account when they are helping with parenting matters involving parties from the ADF.
The court considers the child’s best interest first when dealing with parenting matters but that often isn’t the only consideration.
In 2017, the court ordered (in the case of Wedland Vs. Wedland) that the child could relocate with the mother, who worked for the Australian Defence Force and was the primary caretaker of the child, wherever she was posted before she knew where she would be posted to.
The father appealed the decision with the argument that this arrangement would affect his relationship with the child. The mother was still allowed to relocate with the child, with the court responding that the child could still have a meaningful relationship with the father.
Not all cases involve military parents, however, the court takes into account the relocation factor that is inevitably involved in the work of ADF parents.
Ultimately, the court will make its ruling according to the best interest of the child, taking into account who the primary carer is.
If you’re seeking to separate from a partner in the ADF and are concerned about parenting arrangements, get in touch with a family attorney and explore your options. If you’re concerned about your ex-partner experiencing PTSD and you are thus concerned about the safety of your child, let your lawyer know. The court will take this into consideration.
Rights of parents in the ADF and division of assets and superannuation
The rights of parents in the ADF when it comes to property settlements and division of assets are similar to parents that are not in the ADF.
The main difference with ADF members is that they accrue substantial benefits in pensions and superannuation interests.
Superannuation is treated as part of the asset pool during a separation and parties who are in the Australian Defence Force are subject to the same considerations. Usually, to determine the best way to divide assets, the court will investigate the following:
- The length of the relationship (marriage or De Facto)
- Whether the years of service, superannuation and interest were accrued during the relationship
- Valuation of the Superannuation of each party
- Financial contributions of each party during the partnership
- Domestic (and other) contributions made during the partnership
- The welfare of children or dependents
- Differences in income between the parties
- The financial responsibilities of each party
Each case is different and property settlement can vary vastly from one couple to the next. If you are concerned about your assets and are going through a separation, consult a legal practitioner to learn how to protect yourself and your finances.
Alternatively, consult with one of our lawyers if you’d like to learn more about parenting and property settlements involving members of the Australian Defence Force and what you’d be entitled to.
Principal of Justice Family Lawyers, Hayder specialises in complex parenting and property family law matters. He is based in Sydney and holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Communications from UTS.