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Supportive Counsel and Aggressive Court Representation from the Child Custody Family Lawyers at Chatswood Family Lawyers

Decisions regarding where children will live and how they will be raised are among the most contentious issues in many divorces. While it’s still common to refer to these ideas as child custody and visitation, Australian law has evolved to calls these concepts “live with” and “spend time with”.

Australia has adopted laws that make shared parental responsibilities the presumptive choice for family courts. However, many parents seek sole decision-making authority and to reduce the other parent to the role of visitor. This presents divorcing parents with two narrow alternatives: negotiate a joint parenting agreement or face a contentious, high-stakes custody battle. At Chatswood Family Lawyers, we’re determined to uphold your parental rights. When a negotiated solution is possible, we work toward a manageable plan that benefits both sides. But when your spouse is set on undermining your relationship with your children, we fight hard for their best interests and yours.


The term “custody” was formerly used to refer to particular rights and duties that a parent or guardian has regarding a child. Under this old terminology, divorcing spouses had the options of physical custody and legal custody. Now, these responsibilities are divided up in a parenting plan, which covers:

  • The child’s living arrangements
  • How much time the child will spend with each parent
  • How information and records related to the child will be shared with each parent
  • Transportation arrangements for parenting time.

If the divorce is amicable or uncontested, the parties can negotiate a parenting plan on their own or work out any minor conflicts in mediation. However, if the court must decide the issue, it tends to favour giving most parental responsibilities to the primary caregiver, usually the mother. In these situations, the other parent often must pay child support to the primary caregiver for the child as well.


In resolving the conflicts, our qualified team of family law specialists at Chatswood Family Lawyers can advise and guide you and your family along the most efficient and costs efficient methods to solving your parenting matter. This may include:

  • Negotiation:

Whether it is in writing, verbally or in person, negotiations can occur between you and your former partner directly or with your respective legal representatives.

In negotiation, you will discuss the concerns surrounding the parenting matter and attempt to arrive at an agreement.

We strongly recommend that should you have any difficulties in negotiating a parenting agreement that you contact our family law specialists as soon as possible to avoid having to commence Court proceedings.

  • Mediation:

Mediation, or otherwise known as Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) invites you, your former partner and a jointly appointed mediator to discuss the conflicts at hand.

On the day of the mediation, the mediator will assist you and your former partner to reach a common agreement that can be formalised by the Court.

In the circumstances that an agreement cannot be reached, the mediator will issue a ‘Section 60I Certificate’. This Certificate essentially confirms that you have attempted to resolve the parenting issues but was unsuccessful or that either party had not attempted to resolve the issues (if they refused or failed attend the mediation). With this Certificate, you may commence Court proceedings for parenting matters.

Again, as we strongly recommend that matters be kept outside of Court due to costs and time complications, please contact our Family Law specialists on (02) 9412 4500 before you attend or intend to attend a mediation.


Nothing can replace the time you have with your children, and your rights as a parent are worth any fight. The trusted Family Lawyers at Chatswood Family Lawyers have the experience and determination it takes to negotiate a fair parenting plan, and the tenacity to win in court when needed. Contact us today at (02) 9412 4500, by email at or using our convenient online form, to schedule a consultation at our Chatswood office.