Children and relationship breakdown

Children and relationship breakdown


This is the closest and hurtful topic I like to write on! This post is about the most vulnerable parties of them all in a relationship breakdown.

Children are the most affected of all the concerned parties in family separation. Child custody, child support, parenting arrangements are few of the key areas to mention.

Check out how each of these key points get affected during a separation process:

Child Support


Child Support or Child maintenance is a financial issue, discussed while the partners are separating. Child Support is paid by either or both the parents depending on the family situation. The child support is paid either in one lumpsum or as periodical payouts.

The more a parent is involved directly in child care, the less he/she will have to pay the child support. The Child Support Agency is an authorised establishment to assess and administer child support amount, and payments

The Child Support Agency assesses the family’s financial situation and other commitments before recommending child support amount.

The parents, in turn can opt for getting a Child Support Agreement, with the help of family lawyers. The Child Support Agreements comprise of the parents plans and commitments towards child care, support and sharing parental responsibilities.

Child Custody


Child custody is an endlessly debated topic between the separating parents. Most often than not, the children become the tool to ego boosting for their parents. Unfortunately, many separating parents fail to understand that parental alienation can cause severe psychological disorders in the children.

The judiciary taking note of such tendencies, is very strict with assigning child custody to either one (Sole Custody) or both the parents (Joint Custody). The physical custody of a child can be shared between the parents, with child/ children spending equal time with both the parents.

The parents can access alternative dispute resolution services to decide about the child custody, if they themselves cannot come to an agreement. Alternative dispute resolution services like mediation, or collaboration assist the parents to work through their disputes sensibly and put the best possible arrangement for the child / children.

Rather than taking the child custody to court, it is highly recommended that you consider alternative dispute resolution options.

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Parental Child Abduction


This might seem quite strange to start with! But yes, this is very likely and of course disturbing for the parents. Parental child abduction means, a parent, takes the child/children out of state or out of country without the knowledge or consent of the other parent, who has joint or sole custody of the child/children.

Parental child abduction is a criminal offence.

If the child is being taken from a parent to another state in Australia, a family lawyer can get orders from court, instructing state and federal police to recover the child and handover to the rightful parent (who has parentage orders from the court).

If the child is suspected to be taken outside Australia, the family lawyer can bring orders from court to seal all exit points in Australia and stop the child to be taken out of Australia.

In unfortunate event of child being already taken out of Australia, one should reach a family lawyer who is experienced in international family laws and can apply to Hague Convention for recovery of the child. This process of recovery and handing over the child to the other parent is very time consuming, and stressful.


Paternity Testing and Fraud


When one partner suspects that he/she is not the biological parent of the child in their family, they can bring it up in the court and deny paying the child support.

The court order form DNA testing. Since the DNA tests are very costly, the court may advice the cost to be shared by both the partners.

If the test reports confirm fraud in claim of paternity, the person can claim to refund the child support provided so far and deny paying the future amount of child support.

De Facto relationships: What it entails, legally and emotionally?

De Facto relationships: What it entails, legally and emotionally?

De facto relationships are substituting marriages in Australia. A heterosexual or same-sex couple can have live-in arrangements.

By definition, a de facto relationship can exist between two individuals;

  • if there is no familial relationship between them
  • if they are not legally married, and
  • if they are leading a domestic life

The de facto relationships enjoy same legal status as a marriage, with some slight variations in different states of Australia.

The Family Law Act 1975, that governs the marriage and divorce, too, govern the de facto relationships and separation. However, note that the separation of de facto partners before 1st March 2009, is governed by family law act before 2008.

In 2008, the family law act was amended with new bills, which is the current law and applies to de facto partners separating after 1st March 2009.

State and Federal Laws


The couple in a de facto relationship, who have separated before 1st March 2009, are by default come under state laws. If the de facto partners wish to be governed by Federal Law, they must meet these conditions:

  1. The couple in a de facto relationship must consent in writing that they are willing to be governed by Federal Law.
  2. The signing of the above document must be done after taking due legal advice from the family lawyers and after understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the decision.
  3. A signed copy of the family lawyer’s advice must be submitted along with the written consent of the partners.
  4. The de facto partners must not have entered any agreements with regards to finance and property/children/ maintenance, which is enforceable under State laws. Federal Laws cannot be applied to such conditions.

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The Amended Family Law Act of 2008 gives equal legal rights to de facto partners, in terms of:

Legal Rights of De Facto Partners


Spousal maintenance: The partner can claim maintenance from the other partner if he/she is not able to support himself/herself.

Finance and property settlements: The de facto partners can settle their finances as any other legally married couple. However, the timeframe for settlement for de facto partners is 2 years, post-separation.

The de facto partners can split superannuation, enter a financial agreement, and can seek legal relief as a married couple.

Apart from the finances and living facts, there are some emotional aspects, that a court considers important to prove the partners were indeed in a de facto relationship like commitment towards their relationship, living a domestic life, sharing of things etc.

Circumstances of genuine de facto relationship

  • The couple have sexual relationship
  • The couple share each other’s finances and properties
  • The financial arrangements, the couple have between them
  • The couple are dependent on each other: emotionally, socially and financially
  • The seriousness of commitment of the partners towards each other
  • If there is/are any child/children, how their care is arranged and shared between the partners
  • If the relationship is duly registered in any of the states
  • Length of the relationship
  • How the couple conduct in public life and the nature of their relationship
  • The partners reside together in one house


If the partners are in such circumstances, as mentioned above, for the past 2 years, they are considered as genuine de facto partners by the court.

If a couple, have had a child within 2 years of their living together, it is still considered a genuine de facto relationship.

If any one partner has made a substantial monetary contribution to the relationship, it is too considered as a genuine de facto relationship.


Why are the above legal points important? Because the de facto partners perpetually are at the risk of being abandoned by the other partner and end up in a miserable situation. Legal coverage of de facto relationship ensures the partners are responsible towards each other.

I hope you pay attention to your live-in relationship, before being sorry!