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Not only for women, but usually for both parts involved in a separation or divorce, the most dramatic aspect that is part of the process is surely the children. However, it is important for women to leave feelings and emotions aside and think of the best decision for their children. If you are in this position of having to face a legal procedure that involves your children, then the right decision is to look for advice from experienced professionals that can help guide throughout the process and make it quick and less traumatic for your children.

Frequently, the response to who will obtain custody will be determined by the process that the parties involved in the application for custody of the child follow. In most cases in which parents come to an out-of-court settlement about custody of their child and visits, the answer to this question depends on the parents themselves, usually with the intervention of lawyers, counsellors or mediators. If the parents, in a custody dispute, do not negotiate some type of agreement, then the decision on custody will rest with a court, usually a family judge. Here at VIC Family Lawyers we take the serious commitment of helping you avoid any extra expenses and undue stress that comes together with these legal issues.

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Although there are no documents specifically required for a first appointment with VIC Family Lawyers, some documents can help have a more accurate overview of the issue and help lawyers manage time and decisions in a more effective way.

These are some of the copies you should take with you if you have them:

  • Court Orders or any type of Court documents issued in the past.
  • Family Violence Orders if there have been any.
  • Written agreements or parenting plans made at mediation.
  • Reports provided by Human Services, the Department of Health or any agencies alike.

Remember that these documents are not a requirement for your first visit to the lawyer so if you cannot obtain any of the documents mentioned above, there is no reason to postpone your appointment. During your first visit, your lawyer will let you know the type of documentation that will be required for your next visit.


Anything relating to children’s matters is a delicate topic, so people involved need to have some extra information that needs to be known before beginning a legal procedure. These are some of the most frequent questions relating to this topic:

  • How can I obtain custody of my children?

    When parents cannot agree on who will be the one the children will live with and will make decisions regarding their lives then the Court will decide. Nonetheless, the term “custody” is no longer used in Court. Considering a wide range of factors, the Court will determine which parent the children will live with and which will spend time with. There is no way to “win custody” since a handful of interests and aspects will be taken into consideration for the decision. Here at VIC Family Lawyers we can provide you more information and help you protect your children throughout the procedure.

  • Who will be given parental responsibility?

    In most cases and unless there is an unusual situation that prevents things follow their natural course, both parents have equal shared parental responsibility for children. Having equal shared parental responsibility means that decisions that affect long term issues such as health, education and religion must all be made by both parents.

  • What are my rights as a parent during this procedure?
    It is important to understand that Family Law Act never focuses on the rights of parents, their duty is to focus specifically on the rights of your children, therefore the object of the act is:

    • Ensuring children’s safety and proper parenting.
    • Protecting children from any type of harm, neglect or violence.
    • Ensuring children can keep their family relationship with both their parents.

    However, any parent that is not involved in issues of abuse and domestic violence can expect to:

    • Get to spend time with their children regularly.
    • Have ongoing involvement in all aspects of their children’s lives.
    • Being involved in ongoing decision making about the lives of their children.
  • If my custody case falls into the hands of a family judge, how will you decide who gets custody?

    When deciding, who will get custody, the judge will consider several factors, but the prevailing consideration is always the best conditions for the child, although that is difficult to determine. Often, the main factor is which parent has been the “primary guardian” of the child. If the children are old enough, the courts will consider their preference when making the custody decision.

  • What is a “primary guardian”?

    In custody cases, the “primary guardian” has become a key role since psychologists began to emphasise the importance of the link between the child and its primary guardian. This emotional bond is considered very important for the child during its stages of development and psychologists recommend that the relationship between the “primary guardian” and the minor continue after the divorce, because it is vital for their psychological stability. When determining, which parent has been the primary guardian, the courts focus on direct care responsibilities. This includes dressing and grooming the child; planning and preparing the meals; taking care of the health and dental care of the child; teaching him or her how to read, write and math skills as well.

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