Tips For Fathers

Tips For Fathers In Child Custody Matters

As a parent in any kind of dispute about child custody, you need to be on your best behaviour.

It does not matter whether you are seeking to be the primary residential parent with full parental responsibility, shared custody or overnight visits on the weekend. You need to be able to show the court that your relationship with your children is important to you by behaving accordingly.

Everything you do and everything you say could potentially be monitored, so it is best to assume that this is the case.

What would a record of your interactions with your children or their mother look like in court?

Try to imagine the judge is near you, watching your behaviour and hearing your conversations from an outsider’s perspective, every time you are around your children or ex-partner.

Be careful what you say in front of the children about their mother.

They will not have a full understanding of the situation, especially if they are very young, and are likely to repeat things that you have said back to their mother or other people.

Follow any parenting plans, agreements, interim orders and other court orders.

Make sure that you demonstrate that you are a worthy parent by acting appropriately at all times.

Conversations And Written Correspondence

Spoken conversations and all written correspondence, including text messages and emails, are commonly used as evidence in divorce proceedings.

Your children’s mother may record your conversations, both in person and over the phone.

Anticipate this and be aware of your tone of voice and choice of words when talking to her.

Control any anger or frustration; do your best to stay polite and calm.

The same goes for written correspondence.

Do not send any messages out of spite or anger. Reread text messages and emails before you send them to make sure that they sound pleasant and courteous.

Keep accurate records of correspondence with your children’s mother and other relevant people, and assume that she is doing the same.

You may use these records when filing affidavits in court.

Social Media

Posts on social media are also often used as evidence in court proceedings.

Do not post anything on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profiles or any other kind of social media platform about your ex-partner, your parenting dispute or the court hearings.

The court will not look kindly on any sort of negative or aggressive behaviour, whether that is online or in real life.

Be careful to take care of your mental health. If you find yourself needing to vent, make an appointment with a psychologist or meet up with a close friend.

Do not use social media as an outlet for stress or other negative emotions.

Preventing International Relocation

Parents attempting to relocate with their children overseas is increasingly common in family court cases.

If you are worried that your ex-partner may try to leave Australia with your children without your knowledge or consent, be sure to safeguard your children’s passports and other travel documentation.

Inform yourself about recovery orders and seek legal advice if you feel you need to take action.

You can put your children on the Airport Watch List, which will stop them from being able to board a plane at the airport.

Do not attempt to relocate with your children without the knowledge or consent of their mother.

Best Interests Of The Child

When making parenting orders, the best interests of the child or children involved are always the paramount consideration of the court.

The court will listen to all points of view to determine the outcome that best promotes the welfare of the child.

The court will consider several principles, including the following:

  • The length of time that the child has been in the care and control of any person other than a parent and the relevant circumstances
  • The desires of the parents as to residence agreements reached by the parents and submitted to the court are usually presumed to be in the child’s best interests
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings and any other person who may significantly affect their best interests
  • The child’s adjustment to their home, school and community
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to respect and appreciate the bond between the child and the other parent and to allow for a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Any evidence or allegation of spousal abuse
  • Any evidence or allegation of child abuse on this or any other child
  • Whether either parent is required to register as a sex offender
  • Whether a parent is residing with a person who is required to register as a sex offender
  • Whether a parent has been convicted of child abuse
  • Whether a parent is residing with a person who has been convicted of child abuse

Understanding the best interests of your child and showing that you have their welfare and emotional and psychological needs in mind will help you in your parenting dispute.