Family Violence, Separation and Children.

Family Violence, Separation and Children.

The Family Law Act recognises ‘family violence’ as being any “violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family, or cause the family member to be fearful[1].”

At Merridy Elphick Lawyers, we understand that the period initially following separation is often associated with increased risk of physical and emotional danger to members of a separating family.

Whilst one of the primary considerations in parenting matters is the benefit children gain from having a meaningful relationship with both of their parents, the Family Courts must prioritise the physical and psychological safety and wellbeing of children, and particularly so in circumstances where allegations of family violence have been raised. The protection of children is paramount to the Court.

The Court recognises the impact that family violence has on parents and their ongoing ability to co-parent and facilitate a meaningful relationship when there are allegations of family violence.  In these circumstances, the Family Courts may make Orders rebutting the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility (that is, the parties’ ability to share the role of making of major long term decisions for children). The Court may also determine that it in the children’s best interest to spend limited time, supervised time or no time at all with a parent who the Court determines may place the children at risk of unacceptable harm due to family violence.

Our experienced family law solicitors are able to provide you with comprehensive advice in relation to care arrangements that may be appropriate for your children and assist you with family law advice if you have experienced family violence during your relationship.

If you hold serious concerns for the safety and welfare for you or your children, or the safety and welfare of someone close to you, you should seek immediate assistance from the Police. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

[1] Section 4AB Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)